In 2020, generous supporters from the City of Lights Community helped accomplish the goal of taking care of Oberson. The results have been amazing! Each weekday, our organization transports Oberson to and from school, ensures he has the appropriate supplies, clothing, and hygiene products as well as adequate food for him and his family. The total cost of this project was $3,200.
In 2020 Oberson has:
Turned 17 years old!
Eaten regularly all year for the first time in his life
Gained at least 5 inches in height and 30 pounds in weight
Has much more strength than before
Attended school for the first time in his life (at PAZAPA)
Has stopped begging for food on the street
His heart condition has improved some with a regular diet
In 2021 we want to do more:
To Sustain our Commitment to:
Daily School Transportation,
Monthly Food for Oberson and his family,
School & Hygiene Supplies
Increase our commitment by:
Paying for monthly medication for Oberson’s heart condition
Assist his mother in obtaining regular employment or starting her own small business
The benefit of these goals is multifaceted. While we know Ms. Manita (Oberson’s Mom) is very pleased to receive the assistance, all persons who are capable of working can only thrive by doing so. Ms. Manita desires to know the dignity of providing for her own family’s needs. The Oberson project is committed to assisting her family until she is fully able to manage her finances and her family’s needs.
Meet Oberson. He is a child with special needs living in a Haitian community that has experienced extreme poverty since the earthquake in 2010. He lives with his mother, uncle, sister, and grandmother who is also disabled. His father left his mother while she was pregnant with Oberson. If you were to ever meet him (and perhaps one day you will) you would experience the joy and love that Oberson has to share with others. His smile is perhaps the biggest and most contagious one you will ever see.
Oberson is non-verbal and walks with a gait, but he hears, understands, and can react to everything a person says to him. He needs some assistance dressing, cleaning, and feeding himself. He still sucks his thumb leaving sores on his hand and will often have wounds on his arms and head from falling into things. This happens most likely due to a suspected cardiac arrhythmia that causes seizure-like symptoms.
Oberson has a joy that's infectious! He's kind and compassionate. He loves very easily and openly. You can't help but smile when you are around him. I’ve known Oberson since he was 7 years old and whenever I return to the Beaudouin community he is the first person I’m looking to see.
Life for special needs people in any nation presents its own set of challenges. Things for my Oberson, in particular, have taken a turn for the worse as he's reached his teenage years. Like any teenage person, Oberson is beginning to think more deeply about his life; not always in very beneficial ways. He’s also starting to push the boundaries that his mother had placed on him and wandering around the community, often begging for food.
When he turned fifteen, Oberson began asking people on the street for motorcycles and cars to hit him, trying to kill himself. People would also give him spoiled food to eat when he begged and, often, they would beat him. One day, people thought it would be funny to give him alcohol when he begged them for food. This created an addiction problem as he would start begging for alcohol instead, only making his behavior issues and heart condition worse. Oberson's mother felt helpless to do anything for him because she could not afford to give him food so he would stop begging on the street.
Beginning in January of 2020, our City of Lights community started supporting Oberson’s family with food each month and with a scholarship program for Oberson to attend school. PAZAPA (Haitian Creole for "Step-by-Step") is a school for special needs kids in the city of Jacmel, Haiti, close to Oberson's home. The school runs four hours a day, five days a week, and is specifically designed to help young men like Oberson adapt to life in his community as well as helping his family and the community adapt to assist him.