Feature Stories

JDC Helps Haitian Teenager Rise Above the Rubble

Victims of Haiti's devastating earthquake are benefiting from state-of-the-art Israeli rehabilitation techniques with JDC support.
Victims of Haiti's devastating earthquake are benefiting from state-of-the-art Israeli rehabilitation techniques with JDC support.

Jennifer A., a 16-year-old Haitian girl with nine siblings, recently took her first steps—for the second time. On January 12th while Jennifer was studying French literature, the walls of her classroom shook until they collapsed. In her flight for safety, Jennifer’s leg was crushed and she lost consciousness. When she awoke, her leg had been amputated. But Jennifer learned she was one of the lucky ones; many of her classmates had not made it out of the rubble alive. Still, she had little hope of ever standing again until she met a JDC-supported Israeli medical team at Haiti’s University Hospital and received the treatment and encouragement she needed.

JDC’s rehabilitation program is ensuring amputees and others who have suffered severe injuries as a result of the natural disaster are receiving help to allow them to live independent and productive lives. Bringing this relief to the people of Haiti means combing through densely packed tent cities in search of the injured, and once found, providing them with the appropriate treatment.

For those who require assistance to ensure they can fully engage in daily physical and social activities, JDC’s partnership with the Afya Foundation provides top American occupational therapists, who are also training Haitian rehab techs, to help with recovery. Haitians who have undergone amputation surgery are referred to Haiti’s University Hospital, where an Israeli medical team from Magen David Adom/Tel HaShomer Hospital delivers state-of-the-art prosthesis and physical rehabilitation.

After struggling through a series of therapy sessions, Jennifer’s perseverance proved positive. Combatting her physical pain with motivation, and eventual joy, she stood up and took the first few steps toward her new life.

Tags for this story: Children, Disabilities, Health / Medical Issues, Youth / Young Adults

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