WASHINGTON The Freedom of Mobility Foundation, the charitable branch of MV Transportation, Inc., a United States-based transportation contracting firm and paratransit services provider, donated $20,000 to Handicap International. The donation, which will be used to provide mobility devices for newly disabled people in Haiti, will also help fund the organization’s Disability and Vulnerability Focal Points (DVFPs), which are clinics set up in tents within five communities in Port-au-Prince and other affected areas in Haiti.
The focal points serve injured persons within the communities who need medical assistance, but are unable or unwilling to go to a hospital, as well as people who have already left the hospital, but still require follow-up care. The donation from The Freedom of Mobility Donation will allow Handicap International to provide mobility devices, such as wheelchairs and walkers, to its focal points to serve persons with disabilities who live in affected Haitian communities. Six months after the January 12 earthquake, Handicap International had distributed 2,800 items of equipment through the focal points and nearly 8,000 people had received support through the DVFPs.
"As an organization committed to ensuring people with disabilities have the resources they need to enhance their quality of life, it was an easy decision for the Freedom of Mobility Foundation to make this significant donation to Handicap International, an organization that shares our goals," said Quisa Foster, project manager for the Freedom of Mobility Foundation.
"The employees of MV Transportation are delighted to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and we continually seek opportunities to support initiatives that make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities," said Nikki Frenney, senior vice president of public affairs for MV Transportation. "Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, our employees came together in a tremendous effort to raise money for the victims, many with family members employed by our company. We knew exactly what we wanted to do: Support an organization that would serve the newly disabled in Haiti. Handicap International’s vision for the rehabilitation of Haiti fits perfectly with our wish to provide long-term assistance to the residents of the affected communities, and specifically the newly disabled."
Handicap International also uses the focal points, two of which are also located in Petit-Gôave and Gonaïves, to provide nursing care, distribute mobility aids, provide long-term rehabilitation care for people with injuries and disabilities, refer the most serious cases needing surgery to appropriate service providers and to provide psychosocial assistance. Mobile care teams use the focal points as a base for their visits to the communities, where they see people who cannot or will not go to the DVFP to receive the care they need.
"People in need continue to flock to the DVFPs every day, six months after this devastating quake," said Wendy Batson, director of Handicap International’s office in the United States. "Some come for psychological support, still devastated by the loss of family members; others need replacement of mobility devices or help with new medical emergencies. We are deeply grateful for the support of The Freedom Mobility Foundation and its staff without help like theirs; we could not continue to provide the services still so desperately needed."
Handicap International, which has been present in Haiti since 2008, had a team of 500 people six months after the earthquake — the largest deployment in Handicap International’s history. Our work in Haiti is currently focused on healthcare, meeting the basic needs of victims and managing a logistics platform. As the post-emergency phase transitions into a development phase, Handicap International will gradually focus its efforts on more long-term activities, such as providing livable, hurricane- and earthquake-resistant temporary accommodation for isolated and vulnerable victims of the earthquake as well as caring for the most seriously injured and persons with disabilities.
Next, Handicap International intends to develop its rehabilitation infrastructure and accessibility projects, disaster preparation and prevention activities, and diploma-based training for Haitian rehabilitation and orthopedic-fitting staff. The underlying goal of these actions is to build the capacity of Haitians and to transfer the management of these projects to them over the long-term.