The United States Government, through USAID Haiti’s Democracy, Human Rights and Governance Office, committed nearly one million U.S. dollars to the humanitarian organization enpaK to help support Haitian children, women, and men with disabilities. Based on the World Health Organization’s estimates, around 15 percent of the Haitian population lives with a disability. This funding will promote their inclusion within their communities and contribute to furthering advocacy efforts to enforce their legal protections in Haiti.
U.S. Ambassador Michele Sison said, “Under the leadership of the Haitian organization enpaK and together with disabled persons’ organizations, the U.S. government, through USAID, will help promote inclusion and diversity across Haiti. As we embark on this new wave of disability rights advocacy, it’s important that we take a stand and recognize that persons with disabilities are valuable and make noteworthy contributions to our local communities.”
enpaK is a Haitian-based organization with 10 years of experience in community development. As such, it has extensive experience in human rights focusing on children and youth participation as well as disability rights advocacy. The organization’s newest initiative aims to provide persons with disabilities with equal opportunity and access to all public buildings, including hospitals and social services. It will work with USAID-backed programs across Haiti and engage civil society partner organizations to join the movement.
enpaK’s program Yon Kominote pou Nou Tout is a two-year initiative that will be rolled out in partnership with eight organizations operating in eight communes within the North-East, North, Central Plateau, and West departments of Haiti. As part of this program, enpaK will identify the root causes of the lack of housing for disabled people and address the limited availability of research on the topic, in collaboration with Notre Dame University. enpaK will also launch a communication campaign to sensitize the communes on the benefits of including disabled people in every aspect of public life. The research findings will help determine necessary actions that can help increase inclusion and prevent mistreatment and rejection of people with disabilities.
USAID Haiti Mission Director Chris Cushing noted, “I am truly proud of this new partnership. I know from the experiences of my own family members the importance of including persons with disabilities. My colleagues and I at USAID in Haiti look forward to collaborating with enpaK to provide Haitians with disabilities equal access to public spaces, especially housing, and to building awareness of their rights among Haitians.”This award will support advocacy efforts to uphold the protections set forth by Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the Government of Haiti in 2009. Today, nearly 20 years later, disabled Haitians still encounter many social and structural barriers in accessing the protections they are entitled to under the law. USAID’s enpaK’s initiative will promote the integration of disabled Haitian women, men, and children and the organizations that serve them, by leveraging the organization’s influence to place disabled people’s organizations at the center of advocacy and fundraising efforts, while strengthening their organizational capacity. “Inclusion is a right, not a favor to persons with disabilities,” says Soinette Desir, Secretary of State for Persons with Disabilities. She believes, “Women, men, and children must join forces to make this a reality within our communities. Persons with disabilities have the right to play an active role in ensuring that their rights are respected.”
For more information about USAID’s programs, please visit: USAID.gov