June 13 was a huge day at the Zanmi Beni children’s home outside of Port-au-Prince. It marked the birthday of all 48 of the kids living at the home!
The reason behind celebrating 48 simultaneous birthdays is bittersweet. The children, many living with either physical or developmental disabilities, are without parents or other guardians. Most arrived at Zanmi Beni (ZB) with little to no background information in their files.
The ZB staff knows each child’s name, they know each child at the facility is beautiful, but they often do not know much more than that.
“We can only guess at how old each child is and certainly don't know their date of birth. So what do you do in a situation like that?” asks David Darg of the charity Operation Blessing International. “Give them all the same birthday and throw a big party to celebrate their lives.”
So the ZB staff decided to throw a party to celebrate the births of all the children on Haiti’s National Children’s Day—June 13.
For the birthday festivities, ZB children and staff went to a park in Port-Au-Prince and had a day filled with fun and laughter.
“A group of clowns were on hand to make the day extra special and all of the children got to eat birthday cake,” says David. For most of the kids, who range in age from just a few months to 21 years old, it was the first time they had ever celebrated their birthday.
Partners In Health and its sister organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante, operate the Zanmi Beni home in partnership with Operation Blessing International.
The facility was opened in response to the January 12 earthquake.
“I have been so impressed with the level of care that Zanmi Lasante staff have invested into the lives of these children,” says David. “The attention to detail from the ZL staff and the loving environment has already made such a huge difference in the lives of these children.”