Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wheelchair Promise Program Delivery

We are happy to announce that we have delivered our first all terrain wheelchair to Haiti! (Author's note: Actually, it was done about 2 weeks ago and I am just now getting the post on the blog. Sorry for the delay!)

Willem (in the pale green shirt) was able to give the wheelchair to a very deserving man named Robert who had been an accomplished welder and farmer in Gramothe until some time ago. "Blanc" (as he has been nicknamed because of his light colored skin) has a progressive condition that is causing him to lose the ability to use his legs. The doctor has not given a prognosis of Blanc's condition. He has been immobile for quite some time.

Blanc was very thankful to receive the wheelchair and even more excited about the prospect of having the mobility that the all terrain wheel chair will provide him. He is still young and hopeful to return to welding and farming to some degree with the use of the chair. He is married and has two boys that both attend the MTM school at Gramothe, one of which hopes to become an engineer.

Below is a video of Blanc's first "spin" around the house as Willem is teaching him how to operate the wheelchair and maneuver through the doorway. The video is not great, especially when trying to shoot inside a cement and stone house with no electricity and little natural light.

We are excited about the shipment of 100 wheelchairs that is bound for Haiti! It is scheduled to dock in late June and then we work to get them through customs, which could be a lengthy process, following which we will identify candidates for the wheelchairs and begin distribution.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mountain Top Ministries School

When we visited Gramothe in March, the Haitian government had not yet allowed the schools to open. Thankfully they opened shortly after we returned to the states. We are privileged to share this video from the Gramothe school where Kathy taught English the week prior to the quake.

Students are engaged in a beautiful song, When The Saints Go Marching In. At the end you will hear Willem talking about how important school is for these children.

Special thanks to Little By Little Haiti for sharing this video with us.

Incredibly Moving Video

Praise You In This Storm

Enough said.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Busy As Bees

Our apologies that we have been silent over the past week or two. It's not that we have nothing to do or say. Quite the contrary - we have been busy!
  • Busy given presentations on Haiti to multiple churches, youth groups, elementary schools, Girl Scout troops, women's groups, book clubs and others. People have been moved by our first-hand accounts of the current living conditions in Haiti. Their hearts have been touched by the photos of people living in tin shacks, tents, wheelbarrows, and homeless on the streets. Touched so much that supporters are organizing their own fundraisers, including bake sales, dress down days for school, bread sales, garage sales and even collecting loose change with Penny Blessings just to name a few. Indeed, every penny counts!
  • Busy coordinating the manufacture and delivery of our first full container of all terrain wheelchairs for Haiti! One hundred wheelchairs are tentatively scheduled to dock in late June barring any setbacks at sea. Please check back in the next few days for the press releases giving full details of this great news and full acknowledgement to our fantastic donors.
  • Busy scheduling our next trips to Haiti. Our first trip is scheduled in early May to work on plans for the funding and construction of the much needed surgical center at Mountain Top Ministries. Second, one of our medical representatives will be working in multiple clinics in Port au Prince for 4-5 weeks in May / June. Third, we will travel to Haiti in either July or September to help with the distribution of the wheelchairs.
  • Busy looking for creative ways to fund our administrative costs. While all of our manpower is volunteer based, our direct travel and working expenses are a reality that can not be ignored. With airline tickets costing anywhere from $550 - $750 each, lodging in Haiti, and the cost of our ESL materials (just to name a few), we need to find sustainable revenue streams to cover these ongoing expenses. Please consider if you, your organization or business might be able to help in this area.
Since the beginning of 2010, The Red Thread Promise has garnered more donations than our past 6 years combined. We are humbled by the trust you, our supporters, have placed in us and our ability to use your dollars wisely, touching as many lives as possible. We ask that you continue to keep The Red Thread Promise in your giving plans throughout 2010 and beyond.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Resuming Haitian Adoptions Through Standard Process

The Haiti government has requested that the United States provide them with a final list of orphans being considered under the Special Humanitarian Parole Program for Haitian Orphans. As a result, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will stop accepting new requests for consideration under the special program as of April 14, 2010, and will resume regular processing of intercountry adoptions.

USCIS believes the vast majority of adoption requests for orphans who meet the criteria of the special program have already been submitted. Since January 18, USCIS has authorized parole for more than 1,000 orphans under the special program, and as of April 5, approximately 340 cases are still being considered. The unprecedented program included safeguards to ensure that each child granted parole was truly available for adoption and had been matched to a suitable U.S. citizen for adoption.

To read the fact sheet from USCIS, click here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Special Haitian Humanitarian Parole Ending

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will stop accepting new requests for parole under the Special Humanitarian Parole Program for Haitian Orphans effective April 13, 2010, because the Haitian government has requested that the United States bring the program to a close. While USCIS believes that the vast majority of requests for special parole have already been submitted, any remaining prospective adoptive parents or adoptive parents will have until April 14, 2010, to submit a request under the special program.

To date, more than 1,000 Haitian orphans have been approved for travel to the United States to join their adoptive families under this expedited process.

To read the fact sheet from USCIS, click here.