hama-001Can you believe it has been nearly one year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti? Wednesday, January 12th marks the 1st anniversary of the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti claiming lives, ruining homes and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Thousands of amputations were performed in the days and weeks after the earthquake in a heroic effort to save the lives of those with limbs that could not be salvaged, and many have yet to be performed on people who need them.

I recently discovered an organization called The Haitian Amputee Mothers Alliance (HAMA), founded to provide leading-edge prosthetic limbs to women & mothers who became amputees as a result of the January 12, 2010 earthquake.  A local mom, Sandra Geroux, recently traveled to Haiti to photograph an amazing group of women connected to this organization that is helping women who have lost limbs in the earthquake who ask for nothing more than the chance to mother their children and regain the power to live independent, dignified lives.  She is organizing a local fundraiser in my area next week. 

When I got the invitation, I immediately became attached to the project.  This is my year ofblogging with purpose.  Some of my greatest enjoyment in life has been helping people in other countries.  When I lived in Israel, I worked with an absorption center for Ethiopian immigrants.  Another time, in the U.S., I was a camp counselor for a group of Russian girls who were refuseniks in Russia, escaping persecution for being Jewish, and i helped integrate them into our culture.  I worked to get medical supplies to people who needed them both during the war in Kosovo and the list goes on.  I decided that it’s time for a new cause, a new opportunity to make a difference.

After viewing photos and videos of the women that this organization helps, I became determined to help HAMA make a difference in their lives.  I also  spent some time talking to Suzi Gurry, who’s involved with the organization and listened to her inspiring stories about the people they’ve helped so far and the work that needs to be done.  I’ve also joined forces with Cristie Ritz King from The Traveling Circus and we’ve started a campaign on CrowdRise to raise $3,000 to help one woman get the limb she needs.  We hope you’ll join us and donate, blog and tweet about it and help us reach our goal.  Take a look at the organization’s video – make sure you have tissues handy:

HAMA’s mission is to take in 60 mothers  – as well as their children – who have become amputees as a result of the earthquake.  They will provide leading-edge, prosthetic treatment to these women, and the maintenance and support to go with it, empowering them to leave productive, fulfilling and independent lives. And these women are excited! Take a look at one of the photos, and you’ll see the joy on this woman’s face.

haitiThe primary mission for HAMA is to provide, each amputee who enters the program, the tools necessary to lead an active, productive and independent life. The Village of Vision Haiti Foundation will also work in conjunction with HAMA to tend to the holistic needs of each amputee and her children, providing: housing, meals, mental health, grief counseling, nutrition/health education and vocational training during the rehabilitation process. VVHF will also be providing job placement, arts and crafts outlets and micro-lending for local business development for each woman entering the program.  Listen to a few of the women’s stories here:

Marie Tana
Age: 27
Marie Tana has four children, the youngest of which is 6-months old and living in the V-V-H-F orphanage because she is not yet able to care for her. Her parents quickly rescued the children from her collapsed home after the quake, but Marie Tana was not freed for days, by which point it was too late to save her crushed arm.

Age: 20
Chrislaine was trapped under her cousins body for 5 days after the quake. He made the ultimate sacrifice to protect her, allowing Chrislaine to emerge with her left leg crushed but her spirit intact. The first woman admitted to the V-V-H-F women’s camp, Chrislaine has become the unofficial camp caretaker. She is seen at right with her temporary prosthesis.

The donations made to HAMA will directly fund the prosthetics portion of the project, not the overall living costs which are provided by donations to VVHF general fund. VVHF is a registered 501c3 & registered NGO, all donations to VVHF (HAMA project) are tax deductible.

Please join Christie and I as we spend the next few weeks making a splash across all forms of social media to raise money for HAMA.  We also hope to make this viral effort and start a buzz amongst mom bloggers around the country.  So, if you’re reading this, and you’re a blogger, please let us know and we can send photos/copy/inspiration to join our movement.  Even the smallest donation will make a difference in these women’s lives.  What’s not to feel better about than helping moms – daughters – sisters – women – girls – who are all are amputees, and who are asking for nothing more than the chance to mother their children and regain the power to live independent, dignified lives?   That’s something we can all appreciate.  Head over to CrowdRise and donate to this valuable cause.  Join our movement to cause change.