Treating the Children as Your Own
Caregiver Elda shares what it means to be a "mother"
November 16, 2016 - Haiti
• What does NPH mean to you?
According to Elda, NPH means a lot for her in a country like Haiti where the population is suffering from all kinds of tragedies. She said, “It makes me proud of my job as a childcare provider, and I know how I would want my child to be treated and that is how NPH treats it’s kids. We care for the children as our own and love them like I loved my daughter who passed away in 2009 at the age of 16. I like to bring smiles to the faces of the children that I am working with and motivate them and care for them.” NPH’s goal is not only to care for children with no relatives but it’s also to care for the healthcare system of the community. That’s why it has a pediatric hospital and other support facilities. It is caring for more than our children - it is caring for our whole community. Providing jobs, and purpose for the lives of so many.
•How do you show the kids that they are loved?
One must model love. We often act like the one we are following, and thus love is what we as caregivers try and exemplify. It’s one of the points of Fr. William Wasson’s philosophy. We’re all copying his model and using it to teach the kids. We show our children that even though they may lack that love from their parents, families and friends, there are others including God who will always love them.
•How do you (or NPH) help make the kids in the home feel ‘secure’ and add stability to their lives?
At NPH we recognize that to guarantee the SAFETY of children is one of the highlights and most important elements of our work. As most of our kids are from disadvantaged area where crime and violence are daily occurrences, it is very important that the environment we provide for them is as far from that as possible. Some of our children have been the victim in cases of violence or been forced to do things they did not wish to do. Removing them from those situations is the easy part, helping them readapt to a safe environment and getting them through the mental trauma are often longer processes that we pursue relentlessly. For have walls surrounding our campuses and 24/7 security guards. We also have a clinic and doctors on hand who can provide any needed lifesaving support or care. At our homes, we have wonderful cooks to prepare healthy food for our children. We also provide onsite schools for them from kinder to high school so that they don’t need to go too far for education. The children have a wonderful stability, and we help them move past the pain of their past so that they can grow into the incredible people that God made them to be.
•What advice do you have for someone taking care of kids in the same age group?
Elda is working with the children who are infants to 7 years-old. She advises for anyone working with the children at the same age as her, “Be flexible. Build a great friendship with them and show them that you are not just a caregiver but their family."
My most favorite memory is when I came to start my first days of work. I was nervous and scared. As I walked up to the front of the house and opened the gate, a group of children, the same ones that I am caring for now, came to meet me. They instantly gave me hugs, touched my hair, put their hands all over my face and competed with each other to hold my hand. That same day one came up and asked me “Maman m’vle d’lo svp”, or “Mom can I have some water please.” From then on there have been lots of, “Maman Bo”, give me a kiss mom, “Maman m bel, mom look how beautiful I am and things of the like. But I still remember that first day and that first child who called me mom."
• What kinds of positive changes have you seen over the years at the home?
The Director of our FWAL program is very hands on. He loves to come and see the kids and check in with us caregivers. They are constantly asking us what needs to be changed or how things could be improved. They really make us feel like part of the decision making process and that brings with it unity and a strong sense of teamwork. We all want the best for these kids and it is nice to be affirmed and supported well.
• What does NPH mean to you?
According to Elda, NPH means a lot for her in a country like Haiti, where the population is suffering from all kinds of tragedies. NPH is one of the best NGO's in Haiti that gets involved with 100% of the needs of the people. It also goes further and helps to care for the disabled children all over this country and secures them a way to get free care, a wheelchair, therapy, and an education. NPH’s goal is not only to care for children with no relatives but it’s also to care for the healthcare system of the community.