Misean Cara CEO Heydi Foster delivered RTÉ Radio 1’s A Living Word programme from 8th October to 12th October 2018. Heydi spoke about her experience visiting Misean Cara funded projects in Colombia, South Sudan, India, Zambia and Haiti.
In this episode, Heydi speaks about a project supporting children with disabilities in Haiti, supported by Viatores Christi.
A Living Word – Challenging Prejudice in Haiti
This episode was aired on RTÉ Radio 1 on Friday 12th October 2018.
Suddenly, I was surrounded by flowers. We’d travelled out of Port-au-Prince into the mountains to the south of the Haitian capital to visit a centre for children and adults with disabilities supported by Misean Cara. It was a relief to get out of the traffic, heat and hassle of Port-au-Prince into cooler air. But I was bowled over by the flowers – not blossoms from the earth, but the bright, warm, welcoming smiles on children’s faces as we arrived at St. Helene and got out of the car.
In Haiti, tradition and suspicion combine to make a family feel cursed upon the arrival of a child with a disability of any kind. Children with disabilities are kept at home, hidden away and often abandoned so as not to draw stigma on the family. They are denied the opportunity to grow and flourish. But in one part of St. Helene, Kay Christine, people with disabilities are the centre of attention all day, every day.
The Director of Kay Christine, Gena Heraty, a Mayo woman, is a volunteer with Viatores Christi and has been working in Haiti for over 20 years. Gena and her highly skilled and committed team care for children with a disability and train families how to do so. By demonstrating love and respect for the children they challenge prejudice. Surrounded by flowers, I could see the results of their loving, heroic work in the smiling faces of the children. Brought from the shadows into the sun where flowers grow.
You can listen to the other A Living Word episodes on the Audio Page of our website.
Featured Image: Five year old Pierrin laughs as he plays with his teacher Enide Paulime. Photo: NPH Haiti.