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18.09.2010, 14:29 hrs
Age: 7 Year(s)


"Kokobes" – Visiting Handicap and Ayshe

Third report – Thursday, Sept 16th 2010

 

After a few hours spent in Haiti, it was apparent anready: the catastrophe is not over for a long time to come. As far as the eye can reach you can see destruction and people marked with sorrow. Without a doubt, Haiti was already in a desolate condition because of economic mismanagement, corruption, and egocentric politicians before the earthquake struck. A country at the edge of an abyss was finally pushed over the edge by the earthquake. However, this natural catastrophe could be a chance, as insidious as this may sound.

For decades this Caribbean state was not on the mind of many people. Only this catastrophe opened the eye of the public for the terrible conditions in Haiti. The images of last winter touched us and many others around the globe, pushing us into action. Altogether, more than 3.2 billion Euros were donated, or supplied by the UN, and other states. Several thousands of NGOs are now in the country in order to defy the suffering. It will be an adverse, wearisome, and long down engagement, which can be won, however, if we don’t forget about Haiti’s’ citizens. Today, we want to report about people who took up the battle, and those supporting them in their struggle.

Not far from our hotel, right in the destroyed centre of Port-au-Prince the organisation Handicap was established. This French organisation, in cooperation with the Christoffel Mission for the Blind, takes charge of the rehabilitation of all injured.

We are walking towards the location of Handicap, past numerous vendors, children asking for money, rubble and garbage. After a few hundred meters we are standing in front of the entrance, where Amandine, a charming, young French orthopaedist, is waiting for us, already. She survived the earthquake, but she had to watch people dying, and has seen dreadful injuries. Despite of it all, she’s smiling at us. During our tour through the orthopaedic centre, she’s talking enthusiastically about the progress already made, and about the huge future challenges.

It will take years until the people of Haiti can live in dignity. At every corner you see suffering and hardship, but also chances. There are many relief organizations and volunteers doing great work, everyday. Unfortunately, we will not be able to support all of them. Therefore, we want to concentrate on a project which we can accompany long term with financial, mental and hands-on support in order to make the lives of many easier. We were introduced to many possible projects. In the upcoming days we will present a project which we want to support with your help. On part of Wunderland we want to fill the jar, and we are hoping for your support, as well. If you wish to donate money, you can, of course.

Beneficiary: Aktion Deutschland hilft e.V.
Subject: Miniatur Wunderland hilft Haiti
Donation account IBAN (Swift) DE62 3702 0500 0000 1020 30

Bank für Sozialwirtschaft, BIC: BFSWDE33XXX

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But there are many people whom prosthesis’ can’t help. Thousands have lost their relatives, and suffered severe traumata. In Armonys’ company we are going right into a camp of tents branded by misery. We are feeling uneasy entering this little world. Often, the injured and maimed have not left their tent for months by now, or they don’t even know that help exists. We are going into a very dark tent. Out of the dark appears Ayshe, a woman, about 25 years of age, probably still young and good-looking nine month ago. Her nose is missing, her eyes almost gone. Parts of her slender body were crushed. She’s greeting us with a radiant smile, and she’s telling us her story. She was lying with her baby on her belly in her hut when the earthquake struck. She survived the quake. Her baby was lying dead between the debris and her body. This is part of Handicaps work. With a team of psychologists they are helping people to cope with their traumata. But as with orthopaedic specialists, there’s a lack of qualified staff that can help with physical and emotional wounds. Handicap is training local specialists, but it will take a while until they can help on a large and sufficient scale.


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Besides the treatment of physical wounds, 400 field helpers are also easing the emotional trauma. For about 500 people already, artificial limbs were crafted.


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Handicap has the set goal to help these people. All too often, the injured and handicapped are being rejected by others. On Haiti they were called “kokobes” (good for nothing) for a long time. Since the earthquake hit, Handicap has treated more than 10.000 people, and helped them to be socially accepted.


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The earthquake in Haiti has killed about 250.000 people. More than 300.000 humans were injured, many of them severely. Thousands of people had to be amputated.



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