With so many charities in one country, we see value in collaborating with existing organizations and individuals who share the same passion of supporting a stronger and healthier Haiti. Part of the culture at COTP is to seek out relationships that may lead to collaboration in the future. These partnerships produce immense blessing and lead to stronger programs across Haiti. We are excited to share with you one of our most recent collaborations.
This past month, we were able to partner with three women, Autumn Marshall, Erin Cottos and Ashley Kahila, who have been working in the therapy field, specifically in Haiti, since as early as 2010. All three ladies bring years of experience in both Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy and each are passionate about helping therapy programs grow throughout Haiti.
Autumn Marshall partners with Northwest Christian Mission in St. Louis du Nord. She oversees all therapy programs including the Mariam center and multiple outreach programs. She employs three nationals full-time. Her clinic was a clinical site for rehabilitation technician students and she accepted rehabilitation technician volunteers after their graduation to provide further, intensive training in pediatric therapy. Autumn is the Vice President of the Haiti Association of Occupational Therapy and is the first alternate delegate for the World Federation of Occupational therapy.
Erin has been involved in Haiti through a rehabilitation clinic in Croix-des-Bouqets since 2010. This clinic employs many nationals including an adaptive equipment personnel. She is also highly involved in therapy in Guatemala. Erin has expertise in therapy equipment building. In addition, Erin promotes exercise as a means to prevent many prevalent diseases in Haiti. She opened a fitness center in 2016 and coordinates community runs as week as national runs. She also founded the non-for-profit “Run Haiti“.
Ashley founded the therapy clinic at Respire Haiti in Gressier, Haiti. She currently employs 3 full-time nationals. The clinic is a site for rehabilitation technician students and PT/OT students from the Episcopal University in Leogane, Haiti. Ashley also leads a parent support group to provide educational and biblical principles relating to the disability population. Ashley is the secretary for the Haiti Association of Occupational Therapy. She is also the delegate for Haiti for the World Federation of Occupational Therapy. In addition, she is a part of the executive board and the Haiti Representative for the Association of Caribbean Occupational Therapists.
Every year, in February, Autumn, Erin and Ashley join forces to fun the a “special need health fair”. Over a 3 day period, kids from many communities receive therapy evaluations and any needed equipment. Each child gets connected with a clinic close to their community for future therapy services. These women are doing amazing work in the therapy community in Haiti and we were eager to have them on our campus!
Erin, Ashley and Autumn, along with two Haitian rehab techs, stayed at COTP for 3 weeks in November. Their goals: to evaluate and strengthen the Special Needs Outpatient Program, make equipment for children, teach and train our Physical Therapy team, make individual treatment plans for the children in our care and to help orientate two new rehab technicians who will be employed by COTP come January. The therapy team spent time with and listened to the stories of the families in the Outpatient program. After doing mini assessments of all the children, they fit many of the kids with new braces and made 16 adapted chairs or standers; blessing these families in the program greatly! What this therapy team provided has truly made a powerful impact on each caregiver and child in the program.
We look forward to a long-term relationship between their team and our therapy staff in order to continually increase the quality of our therapy programs!