“My kids are my whole life,” says Thermoncy Dieusibon, father of two children living at the FWAL St. Louis home. “I would come see them everyday if I could.”
Thermoncy’s two children, Emi* 11-years old and Markens* 9-years old, have lived at FWAL since 2010. The children were in the care of their grandmother, who lives in close proximity to their father, but neither could provide the basic necessities of clean water, food, healthcare, education and adequate shelter. The strain was too much on the single father so Thermoncy began looking for a solution and was referred to the NPH Haiti Fr. Wasson Angels of Light program.
Though it was hard on him at first to have his children live in the care of strangers, Thermoncy was determined to meet and get to know the FWAL staff and to also maintain a consistent relationship with his children. His determination led him to return to FWAL every month for family day, where he could visit with the children for a few hours. He has been doing this for over four years now. Unfortunately the children have not had contact with their birth mother for over eight years, due to her abandoning them.
Markens and Emi in 2010
Both Emi and Markens have attended school since 2011, when FWAL began their makeshift elementary school out of tents and shipping containers. They also were fully vaccinated and receive yearly well-child check-ups.
FWAL recently completed the construction of eight children’s homes where the siblings now live. Previously they lived in retrofitted shipping containers and while construction was underway, the girls moved into the babies house and the boys lived in the school’s auditorium.
Thermoncy is very grateful for FWAL for providing his children with food, clothing and an education. “If I had a job or small business, I would be happy to have the kids back, though where we live is only a small room.” Before the 2010 earthquake, Thermoncy sold cell phones, which he enjoyed and would like to do again, but without a small loan, it is very difficult to start even a humble business. In the meantime, he is secure knowing his children are safe, well fed and are being educated, not just in academics but also in spiritual formation. Also according to our NPH Philosophy, each child has a chore or “job” to do every day, whether it be sweeping and mopping, washing dishes or cleaning up around the playground. The children learn to take on responsibility for their own home, to work together and to value the work of others.
Markens at FWAL school
We are thankful to be able to provide support and care for Emi and Markens. Their fate without FWAL’s intervention would most likely have been a very difficult childhood with little or no educational opportunities. According to the United Nations World Food Programme (http://www.wfp.org/stories/haiti-10-hunger-facts)
- Only 50 percent of Haiti population has access to safe drinking water.
- Some 55 percent of Haiti’s 9 million people live below the poverty line of US$1 a day.
- Chronic malnutrition affects 24 percent of children under five, rising as high as 40 percent in the poorest zones.
To learn more about NPH Haiti, sponsor a child, or donate, please visit: http://www.nph.org
*Names changed to protect privacy.
Contributed by Monica Gery, Dir. of Communication, NPH International