NPFS rescues another child from poverty and supports him to live with disability and dignity. November 11, 2019 - Haiti
Marcel says, "NPFS is now my family."
Meet Marcel. He is a 14-year-old boy who has lived at St. Helene in Kenscoff, NPH Haiti, since 2015. He resides in Kay Virginie, which he now calls “home.”
Marcel has seven siblings. His mother and father are separated and neither is working—a difficult life to live, considering the Haitian government provides no safety net for the unemployed. According to the United Nations Development Program, 24.7% of Haitians live in extreme poverty surviving on less than US$1.25 per day. Approximately 59% live on less than US$2 a day.
Poverty impacts Haitians in many different ways: impoverished living conditions, instable housing, malnutrition, risk of illness and lack of access to healthcare, little access to education, the inability to pay school fees, high infant mortality rates, not to mention gang violence and other persistent social problems. Due to the lack of stable employment for much of the young adult population, grandparents are often called upon to support grandchildren.
Marcel arrived at Nos Petits Frčres et Soeurs (NPFS, also known as NPH Haiti) when he was 10 years old. In many ways, Marcel’s childhood was typical of many hundreds of thousands of Haitian children, yet his journey to NPFS was even more tragic. Unable to care for Marcel, his parents sent him to live with his grandmother in a rural area at a young age. He grew up in the countryside with three of his siblings.
A few years later, his father returned and brought Marcel to live with his other grandmother in Pétion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince. Marcel’s cousin, whom Marcel was very close to, also lived in this house. One day the two boys were playing outside when Marcel’s cousin fell on some live electric cables and was electrocuted. Marcel witnessed this horrific accident and ran to save his cousin by pulling on the boy’s legs. The strength of the electric current, however, also electrocuted Marcel.
His cousin died. Marcel survived, but lost his right arm and sustained head injuries.
Marcel’s parents contacted NPFS for medical support. The response was both kind and compassionate. Marcel spent two months in a private hospital; NPH Haiti covered his healthcare expenses.
“I continue to live with the scars on my body. I still suffer the trauma. Even sometimes when I am in class, I remember my cousin and his tragic death. It could have been me,” says Marcel.
The doctor recommended, for a variety of reasons, that Marcel not return to live with his family; so NPH Haiti brought him to the Father Wasson Angels of Light (FWAL) program for one year.
Marcel had difficulties using his left hand after the accident. Through the attention of therapists and hours of sessions at NPFS, he is now able to write with his left hand.
“I remember my siblings but I don’t know where they live now. Since I came here [to NPFS] no one comes to visit me. When I first arrived at the home, I was scared and annoyed because I did not know the other kids. But after several months I started making new friends and I became comfortable. Now Nos Petits Frčres et Soeurs is my new family,” says Marcel, with a reassured smile.
“My favorite caregiver is Met Luko, who helps me with my homework. I also study with my fellow roommates. Having one hand is difficult, as I have limited access, but they help me with anything I need. I always appreciate their collaboration and support,” he says.
“My dream is to become a doctor because I want to help the sick. If I had not received support from the hospital, I could have died.”
In spite of his disability, Marcel loves playing football and is proving to be a great player. He is currently in ninth grade; he is expected to graduate next year and move to the Don Bosco program for external students.
He thanks NPH for the opportunities he has had thus far, and he looks forward to the future with a smile.
Interested in learning about how NPH Haiti helps break the cycle of poverty? Visit nph.org.
Children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.
Denso Gay Communication Officer
You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson