Persons with Disabilities

returnCooperation with Haiti


Development of Mission in Haiti (April 2010)


After the earthquake in Haiti on January 12th, 2010, the then Department of Special Legal Programs of the OAS and the Technical Secretariat for the Decade of the Americas for the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities (SEDISCAP) started a network with the National Disability Council of America (CONADIS), and various civil society organizations, urging them to cooperate in their respective countries with specific assistance for persons with disabilities. Through this cooperative network CONADIS-Civil Society, and in conjunction with the support channels that the OAS had established in Haiti, it was created a Working Group with the objective of assessing the situation of the disabled population in Haiti after the earthquake. The group was composed of representatives of SEDISCAP, CONADIS Argentina, CONADIS Dominican Republic and the Brazilian National Secretariat for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The group was based in Haiti from April 5th to 20th, 2010, and its field analysis concluded the following:

Problems found:

  1. All facilities that provide care to people with disabilities, both education and rehabilitation, have suffered serious damage. Their technicians and staff are scattered, as they are needed to collaborate with international NGOs that are taking care of persons with disabilities as a result of the earthquake;

  2. International NGOs have taken on the rehabilitative care, focusing on 9 antennas (tents) scattered across the area of the disaster and on workshops of orthotic and prosthetic devices. These services are only targeted at people with physical disabilities as a result of the quake with little involvement of the Ministry of Health;

  3. An estimated one million people are in precarious conditions in regard to basic sanitation services and overcrowding.

Recommended actions:

  1. Conditioning a physical location for the Secretariat for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities in Haiti (SEIPH), as well as to national organizations providing services to persons with disabilities prior to the earthquake;

  2. Capacity building, given that the previously available staff has migrated or is not able to provide assistance;

  3. Channeling food aid and temporary housing for the population under the responsibility of SEIPH, persons with disabilities and their families;

  4. Implementation of projects in the areas of job placement, sports and strengthening of NGOs;

  5. Fundraising efforts by national NGOs, networks, CONADIS, so that later the received aid be channeled through the support network coordinated by the OAS/SEDISCAP.