Handicap - Haiti Observer Blog

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Nearly 80,000 people are blind in Haiti, 1% of the population

By the definitions of WHO, the World Health Organization, 1% of the population of Haiti is classified as blind. For children who are visually impaired, progress through life can be especially challenging, sometimes, even more so than others with more physical impairments.

This sentiment is that of Dr. Michael A. Pean from SHAA, the Haitian Society for Aid to the Blind.

One of the greatest handicaps meted out to a visually impaired child is the lack of access to education and the need for particular instruments to aid their learning. A child must be completely proficient and skilled at Braille, the writing technique that utilizes a blind person's sense of touch, before they can matriculate into the regular school system. This skill, if acquired late, can be the reason why a blind child enters school early, late, or just on time in life.

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Joel Edouard Vorbe, member of Lavalas Party

After suffering major damage to the C4 and C5 bones of his vertebrae, Lavalas party member, Joel Edouard Vorbe could have given up on life and the pursuit of progress. Born with all his faculties intact, it took a bullet, fired by a gunman who also took the life of Vorbe's step-father in the same outdoor assault, to rob an ambitious, young pastry chef of his dream.

Joel Edouard Vorbe was born in 1975 and knew quickly what he wanted to do with his life. He would study at the Institute Saint Louis de Gonzague in Port-au-Prince, before studying the culinary arts and hospitality management in France. After four years as a student, Vorbe returned to Haiti and worked in his chosen career until the incident which robbed him of the use of all his limbs.

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Roger Dorsinville Sound Library an Education Tool for Visually Impaired

Knowledge and Freedom Foundation and Haitian Blind Aid Society (AAHS) have joined forces to create a library for visually impaired Haitians, an underserved population in Haiti. The European Union (EU) has provided much of the funding in partnership with Libraries Without Borders (BSF).

The sound library, named because all works are recorded on audio tapes by volunteer readers, follows a format based on a Canadian model. The books have been recorded in both Créole and French by students and artists. The material chosen is suited to the age and interests of the readers. The readers have shown a spirited interest in the project, signing up to be volunteers.

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Western Union to enable Haitians to access government payments

The Haitian government has announced that, through the Western Union, the issuing of badly needed government payments, used to meet the needs of the poor through programs for schools and universities, the handicapped and over 200,000 people, will finally be more readily accessible to those in the dreaded 'last mile'.

At first, the service will make funds available to the needy through their more than 600 locations across the country. They also will give technical assistance to assist with payment delivery and plan to offer other options for distributing funds through bank accounts, prepaid cards and mobiles.

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