HU to Haiti
Bondje beni ou (God Bless you) from Haiti, where 10 students from the Huntington University OTD program served over J-Term with Wheels for the World, a Christian ministry that serves those with disabilities in over 100 countries around the world. The trip fell on the fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake that took the lives of 300,000 Haitians and left many more with significant disabilities. The students served for a week, providing free seating and mobility clinics to people with disabilities in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding communities. Many Haitians are still living in tent cities that were established for those displaced by the earthquake. As food and resources are scarce, those with disabilities are often given last priority for basic daily needs. (Check out some photos from the trip!)
Our occupational therapy students put their clinical skills to use by performing mobility assessments, in home-evaluations, customizing wheelchairs, instructing on safe transfer techniques, and providing home exercise programs. They also partnered with local pastors to share the love of Christ through a presentation of the gospel and a French-language Bible. Hope seemed to return to the eyes of those who came to the clinics and left with improved mobility and the message that God loved them and knew their situation.
A local group of students also served in the greater Fort Wayne area by collecting used mobility equipment to be used on outreaches. The group collected over 200 items and transported the items to Pendleton Prison where they will be refurbished by a group of inmates participating in the Wheels for the World program. After refurbishment, the equipment will be shipped to a developing country to be used by a Wheels for the World seating team.
After returning from Haiti, the OT students presented on their trip for the OTD Program Preview Day, as well as the Northeast District Meeting of the Indiana Occupational Therapy Association. An article on the partnership with Wheels for the World will also be featured in the March edition (available March 9, 2015) of the national publication, OT Practice, published by American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. For more information about the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program or the teams trip to Haiti, contact Nate Short at firstname.lastname@example.org.