Their Stories

Our kids have a future and a voice, and the stories of what they’ve overcome only make where they’re headed that much more exciting. We are truly grateful for every child and teen in the ACFFC and are continually blown away by how they’ve blossomed in this program.

All commentaries are by ACFFC president, Judy Hoffman, and are circa 2011. Many thanks to our friend and supporter, Vanesha Gya, for taking these photos and compiling these stories. Please see her website for more, as this page is currently under construction.

Roselaure

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Roselaure was found on the street carrying water, by Georges, our Executive Director. He stopped to speak to her mother and grandmother and asked that she come to ACFFC. This was over a year ago. The fact that she is posed like this means a lot.

But if you look at her eyes, you maybe can see what we see, which is that she is a child who has been damaged, maybe even brutalized. It took a long while for her to play with the other kids. Georges would find clothing for her because she was often in tattered clothes and send her home with more. She is 9 years old and passed first grade after two tries. She always seems afraid, even when safe. The other girls her age sense this and protect her in a sense. That is good.

And this past month, she came and joined us at a dinner, hugged, sat on my lap (a first!). We need to work with her to help her let herself out and as we do, Georges has to keep at it with her mother and grandmother who don’t seem to accept the importance of her attending school. She does not pick up a paintbrush and we will work with her using art as a means to communicate, when she is ready. I am happy to see this photograph of her. First time she is looking at all free.”

Tico and Tony

TICO TONY

On the left is “Tico”, Jamieson Jeanty his real name. Tony Tervil is on the right. Tico is 14 and Tony is 13.  They have been inseparable since they entered ACFFC

Tico has been with us since 2007 and is not only an incredible painter but also extremely articulate in explaining what it is he shows in his paintings and why. He is never without a sketchbook, never! Tony joined us after the earthquake and quickly became very adept at papier mache, mosaic, and being a part of the group.

Tony is a superstar, not only artistically talented but also incredibly professional and industrious.  Tony is frequently given opportunities that others his age would not be given, he is a unique young man.   He gives 100% to everything he is involved in and will be one of the first to volunteer when there is a need.

Seinthia

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This lovely little girl is Seinthia. She was just a baby when we found her at the Hospital St. Michel in Jacmel in March of 2010. Several ACFFC staff were there to check on a family member of one of our younger children who was in the hospital with typhoid.  While there, a Haitian doctor was overheard saying that he wished we would take this baby (she was about seven-eight weeks old) or she would die (she was born with Hydrocephalus and Down Syndrom). We all stopped and the kids touched her, held her and from her sleep, she reached out. They would have handed the baby off to us, but given all of the news about Americans kidnapping Haitian children who were not orphans, etc., we did not want to risk the status of ACFFC.  We had a baby team for a while, heading over there with food, diapers, etc. while Georges, our Executive Director went about obtaining papers from the Mayor’s office to release her to the custody of ACFFC – everyone was incredibly cooperative.

We brought her home and Jaelin, who handles housekeeping and lives at ACFFC with her son and niece, instantly became the mother. Everyone pitched in. Sadly, the hospital there did not have the capacity to perform surgery for her hydrocephalus.   The search was on for surgery, as her head was still growing and one eye nearly closed. Only by luck and social media, we discovered that Project Medishare comes to Port Au Prince twice or so a year to perform these surgeries.  We were on the list and in just a month and after countless phone calls, she was brought to the hospital for her procedure.

She was a very fortunate little girl – the were able to do an Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV),meaning a minimally invasive surgery allowing the fluid to drain.

Her challenges did not end with the surgery, Seinthia also has Downs Syndrome and with the help of Pazapa, an organization in Jacmel that works with handicapped children, she has become an active and bright-eyed child.  She has a very large family now of 65 children and young adults who spoil her wonderfully!  She is 7 years old now, she loves to talk and dance and sing songs that only she understands.

 

Cadet

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Cadet (left) is another of the group who came to ACFFC after the earthquake. We had to expand because of need. She is 10 years old and her sister Gizlene Rigaud is also at ACFFC. Their mother found her way to ACFFC before we moved back into our building after the earthquake, and were camped as a group outdoors.

When Georges went to meet her mother, he found that the girls had almost no clothing, no shoes, and there was no food in the house. Both fathers are long gone and their mother has no work so there is nothing she can do to help them. They were eating once a day, sometimes not at all.

Cadet loves ACFFC, loves school, and loves to be in her school uniform. She is joyful and fun. She likes to play with her friends and one day I heard them pretending they were grown up and asking each other what kind of jobs they had … one said, oh,’I work at ACFFC’, another said ‘I am working for the government and helping people get food’, and the third said ‘I am a teacher.’ So Cadet and her friends can see their future and how amazing is that!