We are very happy to share with you some wonderful news. After a two year bureaucratic process, FONTEN (Fondation Tous Ensemble) has received official recognition from the Haitian Government! It has been quite a journey and transition for us, founding FONTEN to take over clinic operations and outreach programs in our community when MTI (Medical Teams International) left Haiti in the spring of 2016. We thank the Friends of FONTEN who have sustained the Foundation, providing 85% of our budget through private donations – we literally could not have done it without you. The past two years we’ve operated at 50% of our intended budget (about 20% the MTI budget) and been forced to make difficult decisions and put some programs on hold.
Despite challenges, including Hurricane Matthew, we have kept our doors open and actually slightly increased the number of appointments and clinic patients. We have maintained a full staff of Haitian professionals and continued our support of two orphanages for children with disabilities. Provision of assistive devices, clubfoot correction, the prosthetics and othotics programs and key outreach initiatives continue. We have grown the group classes including CVA (stroke), back pain, knee pain, weight loss and scoliosis clubs – fostering community and encouraging peer-peer engagement in rehabilitation and wellness. Our advocacy and community engagement continue and we have engaged with the two new physiotherapy schools in Haiti to support the training of Haitian professionals here at home!
The significance of this official recognition and status is larger than it seems. Now, doors are open that were before closed. We can apply for research grants and grassroots funding as a certified Haitian Foundation. We can see a near future in which we have the resources to grow programs and reinstate those put on hold due to lack of funds. Our hope to continue growing our capacity to support rehabilitation, education and advocacy in our community is one step closer to being a reality!
If you have connections with grants or professionals who may be interested in helping us with these next steps please contact us! In the meantime, we still rely almost completely on your private donations. Thank you so much for your support during these transitional years – we are so happy to share this exciting news with you!