Partners In Health (PIH) is in the final phases of planning for a new long-term care facility for children in Croix-des-Bouquets, a city located about 8 miles northeast of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.
The facility will be a home and school for 48 unaccompanied minors and vulnerable children, many of whom are living with either physical or developmental disabilities. Others are simply without parents at this time. The children range in age from two weeks to 21 years old.
PIH and its Haitian sister organization Zanmi Lasante (ZL), are opening the facility in partnership with Operation Blessing International (OBI)—a nonprofit organization that provides disaster relief and community development in 98 countries. The new facility will be named Zanmi Beni—“blessed friends” in Haitian Creole.
Before the earthquake, most of these children were living in a crowded and understaffed ward in the General Hospital’s pediatric unit. Following the destructive quake, the General Hospital’s medical director called PIH/ZL and asked that the group be moved into a temporary space.
PIH/ZL facilitated the children’s move to St. Germaine, a rehabilitation school situated on the campus of St. Damien’s Pediatric Hospital—a Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs-affiliated hospital located in the city of Tabarre.
In March PIH/ZL identified land, and, with a donation from OBI, purchased the property for Zanmi Beni. Surveying and architectural planning are now underway. Construction and renovations are expected to start shortly after, and finish this summer.
Zanmi Beni will provide the children with ongoing educational, emotional, and psychosocial support; and will have access to a broad range of educational, developmental, and recreational tools—including equine therapy.
An experienced staff of physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, social workers, teachers, and community health workers will care for the children. The center will also have two pediatricians on staff.
Check back this summer for updates and pictures of the new facility.