By Maria Lanteri
Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (Nph) is an organization that has been operating in Haiti since 1987 with programs in support of children in need. The founder, Father William Wasson, a then American professor and lawyer, after a journey into the poverty of Mexico decided to become a priest and dedicate his life to helping street children.
Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos creates life-changing opportunities for disadvantaged, vulnerable, and disabled children and youth living in extreme conditions. Through a comprehensive approach that embraces the whole child, it supports children to become independent, caring adults who give back to their communities, shaping better futures for themselves, their families, and their world. They work with children in local communities to teach them to exercise their own agency, to embrace who they are, to protect and strengthen both their voice and their person. The purpose is to break the cycle of poverty and vulnerability by providing children with sustainable strength.
Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos owns fundraising offices and supporting committees around the world while owning orphanages and hospitals in nine Latin American countries: Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Dominican Republic and, indeed, Haiti.
Since 1954, over 18000 children have called Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos‘ infrastructures home and their community outreach programs continue to provide education for 7473 children and youth each day from pre-K to university, financial support to attend school to 3991 children from low-income households and vulnerable neighborhoods, 15062 physician and nurse consultations across the region and 6453 surgeries for low-income pediatric and adult patients.
In Haiti, to face the pandemic, Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos has created a female team to support the staff and patients of Kay St. Germaine, the Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos home reserved for patients with neurological disabilities, with equipment and personal protective equipment. Every morning everyone is measured their temperature, blood oxygenation and they check if they are coughing. Clean PPE masks are constantly ensured for everyone and after each visit the doctors sanitize the instruments, the environment and wear new personal protective equipment. This is done with the utmost care so that everyone can safely participate in every activity, given the increases in contagions. It is thanks to this team that the services of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos, which otherwise would have had to be suspended due to the impact of Covid-19 on the country, have been able to continue.
Other rehabilitation outpatient centers are Kay Gabriel and Kay Elaine Foyer (main home) while other important infrastructures are Father Wasson Angels of Light, which is both a home and school for displaced children, and St. Damien Pediatric Hospital which is a leading medical facility. Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos Haiti is led by Kenson Kaas, Dr. Jacqueline Gautier and Gena Heraty along with over 1090 dedicated staff.
A message from Jacinta McGuane from Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos Haiti Special Needs Programs on the 7th of July 2021 (exactly three years after the violent riot in the Country that broke out when the Government announced that they would reduce the subsidies on fuel) reports: “With all of the preceding insecurity and COVID issues in Haiti we were thankful that we had learned to be well-stacked with all necessary supplies at all of our sites. Thanks to staff and patients’ WhatsApp groups we were able to ensure that all were safe, and were taking all of the necessary precautions. Ongoing and continuous health safety, security, kidnapping and COVID awareness training ensured that everyone was as prepared as possible given the circumstances” giving new hope about how this critical situation is being handled in this already suffering Country.
Cover image: Tina Floersch, Unsplash