Consuelo stayed behind with her four-year-old son and worked the Foundation Tous Ensemble’s (FONTEN) Rehabilitation Center, offering hope to the injured Haitian people. Even with the daunting challenges that included corruption, armed gangs, murders, and kidnappings, Consuelo remained steadfast in her mission.
Established in February 2016, FONTEN started offering its services in June 2016, providing crucial support to the physically challenged population in the South department of Haiti. FONTEN focuses on health promotion and disability prevention, rehabilitation and adaptation, skill development and integration, and social participation and awareness.
The 2021 earthquake dealt a major blow to FONTEN, causing significant destruction and making it impossible for the center to continue treating patients inside the rehab building. The impact of the damage to the facility was far-reaching, disrupting the care of existing patients and quickly overwhelming the capacity of the remaining health centers in the area.
The rebuilding of the FONTEN Center became a top priority for Miyamoto’s efforts after realizing the critical role that the FONTEN Center played in providing rehabilitation services to tens of thousands of people in earthquake-affected areas of Haiti. Dr. Kit Miyamoto said:
“The first time I met Consuelo, she was devastated. She thought she had lost everything since the earthquake damages to her center were so significant. But our Haitian-led engineering team quickly concluded that the center could be repaired and strengthened to the modern code standard cost-effectively.”
He added, “Soon after our meeting, we activated our non-profit Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief to provide local but world-class engineering at no cost to this center.”
Miyamoto Relief’s team completed assessments and structural engineering designs, providing quality control and construction oversight required to repair the FONTEN Center. The reconstruction process faced numerous challenges, including the logistical complexities of rebuilding in a post-earthquake environment and the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in Haiti. Despite these challenges, the team persevered, working tirelessly to ensure that the center could be restored to its former capacity.
“I am so proud to be able to serve the disadvantaged populations in Haiti continuously. Sometimes, people forget about this disaster-ridden island, but I will be here to serve.”
The reconstruction of the rehabilitation center has enabled FONTEN to provide more regular, comprehensive care to the thousands of members of the communities they serve. The facility is once again fully operational, allowing patients to receive the critical care they need to recover from injuries and disabilities sustained during the earthquake.
FONTEN’s prosthetics and orthotics shop is the only one in the south of Haiti. It fabricates and repairs transtibial and transfemoral prosthetics for patients with amputations, as well as produces various devices such as braces and shoe insoles for people requiring orthotics. The Haitian government estimates that 6,000 to 8,000 persons lost digits or limbs in the earthquake, with 82% of people with disabilities living on less than $1.25 a day, making healthcare access a significant challenge. FONTEN addresses this need by providing physical rehabilitation services throughout the lifespan for persons with acute or chronic musculoskeletal and/or neurological problems.
Consuelo Alzamora and her dedicated team at FONTEN have displayed an extraordinary degree of determination and resilience, surmounting the staggering obstacles posed by gangs, violence, and earthquakes to reconstruct the center and persevere in their crucial mission. In the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, Consuelo Alzamora’s unwavering dedication to the people of Haiti has been nothing short of inspiring.
Supporting FONTEN: Ensuring Essential Services for People with Disabilities
Share Tweet LinkedIn EmailRead More