NPH Haiti Children Compete in Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi
Gena Heraty, the director of the Special Needs Programs at NPH Haiti, tells the incredible story of how our children traveled across the globe to compete in the Special Olympics World Games.
March 16, 2019 - Haiti
Two of our children, Darlene and Christopher, are in Abu Dhabi, UAE, representing Haiti in the Special Olympics World Games. What an honor! What an achievement! We are so proud of them. They have worked very hard to get there and they are looking forward to doing their best tomorrow.
They are part of a 24-person delegation representing Haiti. They are accompanied by NPH Haiti staff Carmelle Devil and Jacinta Mc Guane.
When I stop to think how the riding program started about 15 years ago, I have to admit I never thought one day we would have athletes taking part in the World Games. Back then, I was just focused on the practicalities of making sure the kids made it to their riding lessons each week.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the fact that Christopher and Darlene are in Abu Dhabi today is due to the commitment and vision of two great women: Romy Tchudi and Anne Rose Schoen Durocher. When the program started, Romy had the horses and I had the kids. We were destined to meet.
She wanted to introduce riding for children with disabilities and I had been advised that horseback riding would be great for the kids.
After a few years, Romy moved to Florida and left us in the hands of Anne Rose and her Equestrian Center in Chateaublond. Anne Rose introduced Guerdes Louis, a wonderful trainer.
The years went by and the kids got better and better thanks to Guerdes. So much so that my heart was very often in my throat as I watched them galloping around the center.
Romy opened many doors for us. For example, now we take up to five children to Wellington, Florida, every year to participate in a Special Olympics event there.
Romy and Anne Rose soon looked toward a world stage. In 2009, they proposed to help Darlene win a Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) award in the Against All Odds category. Darlene won! And we were off to Denmark. Princess Haya presented the award and Darlene was toasted by the International Equestrian Federation.
Romy then brought us to Germany to the German Friendships Association equestrian event. Another wonderful experience!
Anne Rose started talking about the Special Olympics. For sure, I groaned. I thought, “How will we ever get to the Olympics!?' I think I smiled politely and said, "that's a great idea," and hoped to goodness she would figure it out, because I did not have a clue.
Well, figure it out, she did. Bravo, Anne Rose!
Chapo ba pou Romy e Anne Rose!
It is truly a fantastic opportunity for Darlene and Christopher. We have been so blessed to have been able to support them and help them achieve such success.
Director of Special Needs Programs