An onslaught of hurricanes and earthquakes in Haiti over the last ten years have resulted in much-needed recovery efforts, specifically occupational and physical therapists.
With a population of about 10.8 million people, Haitian residents are suffering as the country only has 50 practitioners.
The Corning Rotary Club’s International Service Committee gave a helping hand on Thursday afternoon.
More than one million Haitians need help according to the Club which is why it decided to step in.
“It’s really terrible to think of, especially after the earthquakes that they have suffered there, that there are so many children that are hurt that have developed mental disabilities and physical disabilities,” Kate Foss, a rotary member, said.
At the Radisson hotel, the club presented a check worth $3,000 to Dr. Janet O’Flynn, the founder and dean of Faculté des Sciences de Réhabilitation de Léogâne (FSRL) which is a new occupational and physical therapy department at Episcopal University of Haiti (UNEPH) campus in Léogâne. Léogâne was the epicenter of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010.
The department’s mission is to educate and transform students into professional therapists. The first five students were accepted in October of 2015 and new admissions come in each year.
The students currently do not have a permanent classroom, so the grant will go towards establishing that.
“We’re still unfolding chairs and plastic tables, so this will be to get our first real classroom furniture,” Dr. O’Flynn said.
Desks, a new whiteboard, and other various classroom needs will now be in the department’s near future thanks to the club.
“Since one of Rotary International’s main thrusts is education of communities so that they can help their own communities, this really fits right into that,” Foss said.
The earliest class is expected to graduate in December of 2019. Following graduation, they can get started on healing their fellow residents of Haiti.