Maison Arc-en-Ciel providing services to children in a temporary camp in Haiti
By Guerrier Luckner, Maison Arc-en-Ciel
Maison Arc-en-Ciel (or Rainbow House in English) is a Haitian nonprofit organization founded by Robert and Danielle Pénette in 1996 to support children affected by HIV/AIDS. Its staff work to help ensure HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children the fundamental rights granted to them by the United Nation’s Charter on the Rights of the Child.
Its mission is "To provide a loving and caring environment to everyone [they] serve so they recognize their value and know they are loved. To provide a holistic approach to meet the needs of the people [they] serve. To provide community-based education and outreach to reduce the stigma associated with AIDS and find constructive solutions to reduce its incidence and transmission."
Maison Arc-en-Ciel provides various services to orphans and vulnerable children. The organization currently cares for fifty children who are affected by HIV/AIDS, providing support and assurance for these children who lack protection from their families and communities. Maison Arc-en-Ciel also provides services to the local community in Port-au-Prince, including basic health care, psychosocial support, home visits, workshops, support groups, advocacy programs, and training and cultural activities for children and youth. In addition, Maison Arc-en-Ciel carries works with the community to increase understanding, support and commitment towards families affected by HIV/AIDS.
While Haiti already suffers from a high burden of children affected by AIDS, the earthquake that occured in January 2010 led to even more vulnerable children. In order to meet this need, Maison Arc-en-Ciel expanded their services to children impacted by the disaster. Most children supported by the organization have lost at least one family member during the earthquake. Many children lost several. Maison Arc-en-Ciel provides psychosocial support to these children through workshops, games, and mentoring. For children still living in temporary housing, the organization provides these services directly in the camps.
Orphans and vulnerable children also face significant health problems due to the overcrowding of orphanages and shelters. Maison Arc-en-Ciel provides medical care through a mobile clinic comprised of an auxiliary nurse, two nurses and a pediatrician.
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