people living with disabilities in underdeveloped countries.
The plan, long-term sustainability for long-term impact
There is little to no access to therapeutic interventions for individuals living with disabilities in countries where stigmas prevent inclusivity and hinder academic and social growth of the child.
In Haiti, children with disabilities are labeled as karma for the parents’ wrong doings and consequently shunned from the typical community. Many villages believe that a person’s disability is contagious, and therefore they avoid interactions, limit social and educational opportunities, and in turn isolate the child. Families feel shame in identifying a child with a disability, or label them as poorly behaved, rather than providing them with necessary support to promote the highest level of independence possible.
While allied health services are valued and understood in well-developed and diverse countries, globally this is not the case. According to the 2019 census, 2.2% of Kenyans live with some form of disability. Further exploring this population, 42% of those with disabilities experience mobility related challenges, while seeing, hearing, cognition, self-care, and communication range from 12 to 36%. Across the world, approximately 15% of the population experience some level of disability.
Those with disabilities are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than persons without disabilities.
Access to quality services early on to promote development of skills and eventually life skills work to decrease the socioeconomic struggles in already underserved communities.
Martine Harris is a Speech-Language Pathologist, and founder and president of Travel & GIVE. Martine is Haitian-American, and grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At 10 years old, Martine’s 16 year old cousin, Jean-Bernard Brutus (JBB), who was deaf was adopted by Martine’s mother and relocated to the United States in hopes that he would live a more fulfilling life.
Travel & GIVE’s (TAG) Telehealth program is the solution to the inaccessibility of therapeutic interventions for children (ages birth to 21) living with disabilities in countries where stigmas prevent inclusivity and hinder academic and social growth of the individual. Within many villages in Haiti, people believe that a person’s disability is contagious, and therefore they avoid interactions, limit social and educational opportunities, and in turn isolate the child.
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