Recently, I learned that three women from a deaf Haitian community that I spent last summer living among were brutally murdered.
Jesula Gelin, Vanessa Previl, and Monique Vincent were on their way home from a trip to Port Au Prince when they encountered a fallen bridge and were forced to make their way on foot. The three women went to a nearby town and knocked on the door of what they thought was a distant relative to try and find shelter. Instead, they were brutally beaten, burnt and had their tongues cut out because their killers thought they were cursed because they were deaf.
Many people in Haiti believe that disabilities are contagious or caused by a hex. As a result, people with disabilities are often neglected, abused and frequently referred to as ‘Cocobe,’ which means worthless. This is the type of discrimination I have devoted a large part of my life fighting against.
This community was already struggling because it was relocated to a largely unsustainable place after the 2010 earthquakes ravaged their homes. Jobs are scarce, there is no access to safe drinking water, they do not have electricity and they frequently must deal with theft because intruders take advantage of the fact that they cannot hear. I watched many go for days without food. Now they also live in fear that someone will kill them because they are deaf.
This is a rich community, ready and willing to work hard, if only given the chance. I hope you will join me in my effort to help them. To learn more about the project I am raising funds for, please click here:
If funds are tight (and even if they aren’t), you can still help by passing this project on (http://startsomegood.com/helpdeafhaiti) whether to Facebook friends or by email. Let’s not let these horrific deaths be for nothing.
Thank you for your support.
Peace and Love,
Innovation Strategist | Designer | Human Rights Advocate
When JT became Deaf, he had to suffer a lot of language aversion where IEPs (Individual Education Plan) by audiologists, speech therapists, and teachers told his family that JT would likely never be succeed in college and unable to tie his shoe laces. But they were sorely, extraordinarily mistaken.
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