The Rehabilitation Program is set up for the provision of physical therapy and occupational therapy services in a clinic setting. FONHARE also arranges home visits to treat patients who are not able to leave their home in order to come to the clinic, provides transportation to the clinic if needed, and provides home assessments for accessibility concerns (see INDEPENDENT LIFE PROGRAM). Patients seen at FONHARE include children and adolescents born with developmental disabilities, stroke victims, orthopedic injuries and deformities, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, people with pain and dysfunction, and neurological conditions. In the past, FONHARE received children from the local orphanage for therapy sessions and worked closely with the orphanage to provide environmental recommendations for them. Most recently, FONHARE has implemented a Speech Therapy program. Volunteer speech therapists from France have spent significant time training FONHARE nursing staff to provide speech therapy sessions for our patients, following the prescribed plan of care. Without FONHARE’s help, thousands would not receive any rehabilitative care or assistance with their activities of daily living. Many would simply survive with a disability, instead of engage in any meaningful existence.
SCHOOL INTEGRATION PROGRAM
FONHARE has established a School Integration Program. Through this program, FONHARE changes lives by granting impoverished children living with physical disabilities a free scholarship for their education. We also build ramps and adapt the school to their physical requirements. In Haiti, education is not free. Therefore, many children living in poverty will not get an education, but especially those living with a disability. The need for children with disabilities to be represented in the educational setting is tremendous. We believe that the way to break down barriers is to start with the young and establish a sense of equality in the beginning of one’s life. The School Integration Program serves to do just that by integrating students into the educational system and working for equality by advocating for them and helping to create an environment of mutual respect and acceptance.
The focus of the School Integration Program is two-fold. First, we must work with educators and families to accept students with disabilities into their environment and curriculum. We must advocate for their rights in order to prove their value, potential, and need for an education so they may become contributing citizens. Secondly, we must work to make their educational setting accessible by modifying the school as necessary. We build wheelchair ramps where needed, provide accessible and adaptable equipment, and teach those involved in how to make the educational environment accessible for all.
INDEPENDENT LIVING PROGRAM
In 2012, FONHARE implemented the Independent Living Program, which enables people who are wheelchair-bound to become independent and successful in their home and community. Within the scope of this program, homes (as well as other buildings in the community that the recipient may need access to) are assessed by the physical therapist for accessibility. FONHARE staff then organizes with community groups to assist with the modification and construction, such as building ramps, widening doorways, installing floors, and reconstructing bathrooms and cooking areas. This program benefits all as it serves to bond a community, increase awareness of the struggles of living with a disability, and educate people on the potential contributions of those who have to deal with barriers on a regular basis. In countries as the United States, people are able to take advantage of government services, health insurance benefits, support groups, and laws that remove barriers. In Haiti, there are no such advantages or services. There is no assistance available to these people except the goodwill of family and neighbors and NGO’s like FONHARE.
COMMUNITY ACCESS PROGRAM
FONHARE operates a Community Access Program that addresses exclusion, discrimination, and inequality of opportunities for all citizens. We work with local business, government, and religious leaders to eliminate barriers by building ramps and making public areas accessible. As a result of FONHARE’s initiatives, there are now ramps to the city park, church, hospital, and courthouse in Ouanaminthe. With encouragement from FONHARE, the local Catholic church also constructed a ramp so patrons could access their facility. The Community Access Program and the Independent Living Program work hand in hand to improve the quality of life for the thousands of people affected by paralysis and other conditions requiring them to rely on wheelchairs. These programs also increase the trust and visibility of FONHARE in the community, raise awareness regarding disability, and demonstrate our achievements in fighting for the rights of disabled people in Haitian society. FONHARE has been instrumental in the tide of change that is sweeping Haiti.
The Community Access Program has plans to build several more concrete ramps in the city of Ouanaminthe for public use with a goal of making Ouanamithe the first publicly accessible city in Haiti.
GENDER VIOLENCE PROGRAM
The Gender Violence Program is an ongoing program in FONHARE with opportunities scheduled throughout the year to interact with the public on matters of this concern. We advocate against violence to women, children, and people with disabilities in general. To do so, we conduct seminars with this targeted population discussing their rights and where they can find help if they are victims. We provide legal orientation and psycho-social assistance