Despite Challenges, Haitian Youth Never Give Up

by Jeff Ratcliffe, ChildFund Grants Compliance Coordinator

Earlier this year, ChildFund supported Physicians for Peace in hosting a day camp for children and youth who survived the Haiti earthquake in 2010.

With a grant from ChildFund, Physicians for Peace, The Red Thread Promise and many local partners worked tirelessly to host the camp at Kaliko Beach several hours outside of Port-au-Prince.

Children and young adults gathered to enjoy dance, art, sports and classes on personal hygiene. What made this day camp different was that the participants were blind, deaf, amputees or paraplegic. These children and young adults, most of whom were born in Port-au-Prince, had never been in a swimming pool, let alone the ocean. Many had never had the opportunity to fly a kite, skip rope, enjoy a piece of key-lime pie or play basketball.

Camp participants

Camp participants receive hygiene kits.

Late one afternoon a volunteer from the Red Thread Promise and I were helping Moise, a young adult at the camp, try to shoot a basket. The volunteer stationed herself on the right side of the court and I stationed myself on the left. Moise threw the ball. It was close, but it didn’t go in the net. Moise threw the ball again. It hit the rim.

Man in wheelchair shooting basketball

Making the basket was important. (Photo: Sonya Yencer, The Red Thread Promise)

Moise continued to attempt to make a basket, and each time it just didn’t go in the net. The volunteer and I would chase the ball and bring it back to Moise. Time passed from late afternoon to early evening. We both asked Moise if he wanted to continue trying to make the basket. He said he did. We reminded him that it was getting near dinner time. He still wanted to try to make a basket. He would not give up.

Youth in wheelchair

Moise keeps moving forward. (Photo: Sonya Yencer, The Red Thread Promise)

If Moise was not willing to give up, at the risk of missing dinner and the evening social activities, then the two of us would not give up either. Making the basket was important.

I’m really not certain how many times we chased the basketball. It may have been 125 or 200, but Moise finally did make that basket. And when we all gathered for the social activities after dinner, Moise shared with other campers his experience of not giving up.

His perseverance was humbling.

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