For many years we have supported the ministry work of Gladys Thomas, a Haiti-born, U.S.-trained nurse who runs several programs for poor children in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. One of those programs is Hope Home, an orphanage for children with severe physical and mental disabilities. Strapped with caring for 150 handicapped children each day, we asked Gladys to explain her motivation for taking on such a daunting task. She sent this reply regarding her continuing labor of love. And, as it turns out, it all began with one little boy named Michel.
In 1993, I went to the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince to see how I could help more children and found a room full of abandoned, severely handicapped children. A group of women had started helping them weekly by bathing them, changing their beds, and feeding them — so I joined them. Michel was there.
One day, one of the ladies called me to see if I could find a dentist to clean Michel’s mouth because she had noticed a bunch of clustered patches in there. When the dentist went in, he found fly eggs. At the moment, I was very angry and frustrated. I could no longer stand to see these precious children living in such horrible conditions. I had to do something. I asked hospital officials if I could take the children, and they said yes. So I took 17 children out and began what is now the Hope Home.