THE ROBERT FORD ORPHANAGE

In any very poor country without adequate medical care, the number of individuals affected is large. Adults die at a relatively young age – the average life span in Haiti has been estimated to be 45 years and the infant mortality rate cannot be estimated. Consequently, many children lack a home and adequate care.

    The Robert Ford Orphanage at Grison-Garde was constructed at the same time as the schools. Its mission is to provide for the day-to-day needs of the orphans of Grison-Garde. This includes room, board, education and medical care.

    There are currently 71 children (up from 50 since the earthquake) ranging in age from 5 to mid-teens supported by the orphanage. Most live at the orphanage but a few live with relatives in Grison-Garde. The families of these few are able to provide shelter but cannot afford to provide the nutrition, clothing, and other necessities for their livelihood. Around the clock care is provided by 5 “Mammas” and several aides. Each child has a bed (bunk beds) with appropriate linen for cleanliness and comfort. Each child also has a long/wide wall-mounted shelf on which he/she can store personal belongings. There are single use communal showers and toilets.

    Every child (including those few that live off-grounds) are given two nutritious meals per day (1 more than the average child in the general community receives) and all look very robust and healthy. The orphanage shares a well with the schools which provides potable water for drinking, preparation of food, and personal hygiene.

    One needs only spend a bit of time with these children to know they are well cared for and loved. They are inquisitive to a fault and, although they speak only a bit of English, they surround you with questions and smiles as soon as you arrive on the orphanage/school grounds.

    The cost to support an orphan is $800/year which includes tuition and uniforms if they are of school age. This is not a great amount in the United States but a very large sum in Haiti.

    Medical care is provided for both the students and orphans by the Tovar Clinic, which is just a few minutes walk from the school/orphanage compound and is supported by the Haiti Mission of the Providence Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    More and larger photos of each of the orphanage and the orphans may be viewed in the Photos Section section of this website.