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The January 2010 earthquake increased the challenge of supporting people with disabilities. Not only were there more people with disabilities, many local disabled persons organizations were severely impacted. However, the earthquake also brought increased international awareness to the many barriers to inclusion that existed prior to the disaster.

After the earthquake, USAID funded the St. Boniface Spinal Cord Injury Center. With the support of this funding, the center rehabilitates and reintegrates spinal cord injury patients—both those injured due to the earthquake as well as due to other traumas—back into their communities with the ongoing support of community-based services. As of September 2013, 16 spinal cord injury patients had been hospitalized for three months or more. Of the 52 patients treated—all but one earthquake survivor—had been successfully discharged back into their communities where their families have been trained to care for them.

Recognizing the earthquake as an opportunity to make long-term change for people with disabilities during the reconstruction process, USAID made four awards to address four different aspects of inclusion and provision of better and more accessible care:

  1. Strengthening of the Legal Framework for Disabilities in Haiti (Life of Project: November 2011– November 2014): USAID signed a three-year agreement with the Organization of American States to provide technical assistance to the Ministries of Health and Social Affairs to build capacity in setting standards and protocols, accreditation, oversight, and coordination of rehabilitation and reintegration programs.
  2. Strengthening the Voice of People with Disabilities (Life of Project: March 2012 – March 2015): USAID worked with Christian Blind Mission to strengthen organizations for persons with disabilities so that they are able to influence the development and implementation of public policies as well as promote the inclusion of people living with disabilities in all aspects of the reintegration process.
  3. Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Persons with Disabilities (Life of Project: May 2012 – May 2015): USAID is funding Project Hope to support the Haitian government in developing an effective medical care system that provides a full range of services for persons with disabilities, including corrective surgery, mobility devices (prosthetics/orthotics and wheelchairs), physical/occupational therapy, and psychosocial support.
  4. Specialist Training for Disabilities Technicians (Life of Project: December 2011 – December 2014): USAID is partnering with Handicap International to develop a cadre of support staff who are equipped to handle the specific needs of persons with disabilities in Haiti. The program aims to train and build a cadre Haitian staff of rehabilitation technicians, prosthetic and orthotic technicians, and physical/occupational therapists to respond to the needs of disabled Haitian adults and children.
  5. Renovation of Public Schools (September 2013 – September 2014):USAID and the Government of Haiti (GoH), acting through the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Secretary of State for the Integration of Disabled Persons in Haiti and the Ministry of Education, are renovating 6-8 public schools which will facilitate access to education for disabled children. These schools provide a strong statement about the GOH’s commitment to inclusion of the disabled in society. Parallel sensitization activities throughout the community will be conducted to encourage disabled children to be registered in those schools. The activities respond to the national plan of SEIPH to work for an inclusive education for all Haitian children.

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Last updated: January 28, 2015

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