Siloe Fund for Haiti's Children with Disabilities
|"Cocobai" - implying worthlessness and disgrace - is the colloquial Kreyol term for children, like Sebastian, living with disabilities. Haitian schools do not accept them. Photo courtesy PAZAPA website.
The Siloe Fund for Haiti’s Children with Disabilities was established as a designated fund in 2018 for the benefit of The Siloe Project, a U.S.- based project that provides charitable support for the PAZAPA Center for Children with Disabilities in Jacmel, Haiti.
“Children with disabilities are forgotten and even discriminated against in Haiti, and their families are often marginalized,” says fund founder Louisa Cunningham. Louisa was honored in 2018 with Woodbridge’s first Living Treasure award for service to the town. Her father is co-founder of The Siloe Project — an outgrowth from his trip to Haiti to work at Mother Teresa’s hospice for people living with HIV/AIDS in the La Saline slum of Port-au- Prince.
In Haiti, where misconceptions abound as to the causes of disabilities and there is no public safety net, having a special needs child can be disastrous for parents who are already living in poverty.
Fortunately, the PAZAPA (translation “step by step”) Center provides treatment, education and development of children living with disabilities, while promoting acceptance within their communities. Since 1987, the Center has empowered over 2,000 of Haiti’s most vulnerable families through specialized medical care, inclusive education, outreach, advocacy, economic opportunity, and access to the arts.