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Update: One Year after Earthquake, Local Moms Raise $ for Amputees

Update from organizer Sandra Geroux:  “Our event raised $27,000.  We had expenses of $3000 leaving us with a net of $24,000 – enough for 8 limbs!”

Most of us, when we photograph, take pictures showing  joy and happiness, or of complete neutrality, such as of a landscape. When Larchmont resident Sandra Geroux was in Haiti after the earthquake a year ago, she brought back photos of unimaginable pain; but there is joy just below the surface,  joy at being alive at all.

Her focus was on women amputees, those whose limbs were taken after being trapped and injured in the violence of the quake.

"My name is Chrislaine Joseph and I am 20 years old. I am not married and I do not have any children. I was living in a 5 story building in Petionville when the earthquake hit. I was with my cousin at the time and when the building began to shake we tried to get out but it was too late. My cousin and I were buried under the rubble for 5 days before someone found me; my cousin was dead by that time. I was alive but I had to have my leg amputated. After that, I spent a lot of time crying and thinking that my life was over but now I feel pretty good. The foundation told me that I will get an artificial foot and I will be able to do everything I used to do, including playing soccer. The nurses and the therapists in this program have taken great care of me and their advice has let me know I can still live my life and be happy."

Geroux’s subjects were mothers living with their children at a refugee camp for amputees run by the Haitian Amputee Mothers Alliance (HAMA). When she returned home, she showed the photographs to a group of local friends.

“Those photographs immediately inspired us to do something,” says her friend Kristin Patrick. And before long, a small movement had begun–at least 30 local moms signed up– to raise money in Larchmont for artificial limbs.

“The photo of the woman playing soccer,” says Patrick,” is an image of pure joy. It’s as though she is thinking, ‘I am moving forward and getting my life back.'”

“This is the true face of these women,” says Geroux, a petite and energetic mother of a ten-year-old, “This is how I know them.”

Thursday night a fundraiser at Larchmont Temple far exceeded the initial goal of $3000 (the cost of one prosthetic device) and may have raised enough to help six women, through ticket sales, a raffle and silent auction.

About HAMA
Faced with the pressing needs of the earthquake’s maimed survivors, HAMA was founded by the Village of Vision for Haiti Foundation (VVHF), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.  Over the past 25 years, VVHF, founded by Gina and Lucien Duncan, has been developing Lamardelle, a small village community with a population of about 20,000 located near the town of Ganthier in Haiti.  VVHF is currently the sole provider of clean water for the community, and it runs a primary school, orphanage, and community clinic to promote the education and health of children and families who live in rural Haiti.  VVHF’s Executive Director, Mildred Boivert, received the 2009 Young, Gifted & Black (YGB) Entrepreneurial Award in New York City.
HAMA plans to take in 100 mothers, 60 of whom are amputees as a result of the earthquake, as well as their children.  It aims to provide leading-edge, prosthetic treatment to the amputee women, and the maintenance and support to go with it, so they can resume working and providing for their children.  It will do so by leveraging upon the collaborative effort between VVHF and the Peak Prosthetics Design Team in Salt Lake City, UT.
Fundraiser Thursday night in Larchmont
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