The Contrast is Powerful!
American women continue to galvanize their gains forged over the past 100 years. Many congressional seats and governors’ mansions now have female occupants. Women running for president are no longer oddities. They have marched into the ranks of most professions, if not with across the board equal pay, at least well positioned for exerting their experience and influence. Some women in business vie for multimillion-dollar compensation packages and most working women manage their own investment portfolios. Women’s voices command attention as they urge for social, medical and economic policies which address the particularities of their lives. In contrast, Haitian women’s stories play out like a reset to the 1800s.
The Dire Realities of a Woman’s Life in Haiti.
Haitian women’s sights fall much lower than concern over stock growth and returns on equity. Many lack access to feminine hygiene products and may be confronted with choosing between this basic commodity or purchasing food if she does find them. No monogrammed silver cups and Gund teddy bears accumulate in wait of her infant’s birth. Many Haitian babies and toddlers never know the feel of a commercially produced diaper.
The plight of a Haitian woman revolves around putting a meager amount of food in her and her children’s stomachs — sometimes only once a day. Feeding the family can often mean letting a combination of mud, salt and oil bake in the sun in the shape of cookies and eating them to curb the gnawing hunger. Her feet provide transportation and her BMW is a pair of matching shoes. A sturdy house, the size of an American kitchen, with a roof that doesn’t leak, is the Haitian woman’s dream deferred.
Living Life as a Haitian Woman May Well be Among the Most Difficult of Callings on the Planet.
Casting Haitian women into the role of victims, however, dismisses the very strength of their power; indeed, seeing Haitian women as victims takes away their unique and important power. Every day, Haitian women make and own a multitude of choices that often amount to considered compromises. The need for food to get through the day may well outweigh the longer-term consequences of dubious personal alliances. Forgoing the expense of healthcare regimes in favor of school tuition for a child is not only the show of motherly compassion, but a form of active resistance against the disparities of present life and a claim for a better future, if not for herself, at least for her children. Singing, laughing and the gracious welcoming of others evidences the incredulous and elegant spirit of the Haitian woman in the face of unrelenting struggles.
Hôpital Sacré Coeur Understands the Plight of Haitian Women and Offers a Supportive Sanctuary for Healthcare, Opportunities and Respect.
Hôpital Sacré Coeur has stood alongside, ministered to and learned from Haitian women for more than 35 years. The majority of our patients are women and their children. Clinics, medical and outreach programs address the specific healthcare needs of women: maternity services, a neo-natal unit, vaccination programs, HIV/AIDS services including the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, gynecological services, healthcare education and a policy that insists lack of payment does not mean lack of treatment.
Last year, Hôpital Sacré Coeur hosted:
• 5,094 gynecological visits resulting in 684 sonograms and 612 admissions.
• 2,198 maternity visits and 1,375 obstetrical sonograms.
• 5,102 pre-natal visits, 593 post-natal visits and 1,411 healthy child clinics.
• Hundreds of Pap smears were run and read in a few days — a rarity in Haiti.
Women fill a large percentage of employee positions at the hospital and many of the vendor roles.
As a major economic driver in the region, Hôpital Sacré Coeur affords women the priceless gift of a paycheck or a cash sale. Through the community outreach program supervised by Sister Ann, many widows, the blind and the disabled moved into new homes. Thousands of desperately hungry women and their children received food. Young girls attended school — a crucial step towards a healthier future — thanks to the generosity of donors who paid for tuitions, school supplies and uniforms.
Caring, Dignity and Love-in-Action are Hôpital Sacré Coeur’s Precious Commodities in Delivering Healthier, More Hope-Filled Futures to Women.
Despite a life overwritten with stamps of shame, disregard and disrespect, when a woman enters Hôpital Sacré Coeur she is treated as an important partner in her healthcare program and always, always, always with dignity and respect. Her voice is heard and respected. The complexities of her whole life are considered and addressed.
Please… join us in beating back the disparities in the lives of Haitian women by making a healthy donation to the medical and community programs at Hôpital Sacré Coeur that empower our Haitian sisters.
YOU have the power to change women’s lives for the better — and for the future!
With our deepest gratitude for YOU!
Harold Prévil, M.D.
CEO, Hôpital Sacré Coeur
Sister Ann Crawley, C.S.J.P.
Hôpital Sacré Coeur Outreach
David G. Butler, M.D.
Chairman and Medical Volunteer
P.S. YOU can make a tremendous difference! Please, send your tax-deductible donation by May 31st. Remember: 100% of your donation goes directly to patient care programs.