In May 2021, Nikol, one of the members of Bèl Ewo, myLIFEspeaks' parent support group, got sick and ended up passing away from HIV. She left behind six children, one of them being Mikerdo, who attends LIFE Academy in one of our special education classes. Since Nikol's death, her children have been split up and are living with different family members. The three oldest children were independent and old enough to live by themselves. We continued to keep Mikerdo in the feeding program to ensure he was receiving proper nutrition.
Mikerdo went to live with his uncle in Konkrab, a village about 3 miles away from Neply.
MyLIFEspeaks' staff members, Adam and Bethany, checked on Mikerdo monthly when distributing beans, rice, and oil as part of our in-home feeding program.
But when school started back, Mikerdo wasn't showing up. Come to find out it was because he didn't have what he needed; specifically new school uniforms and shoes. It also came to our attention that Mikerdo was refusing to sleep inside the house and would sneak out at night and sleep somewhere else.
He said it was because he didn't have a mattress but he did have one. We're not sure why he didn't want to sleep on it. Maybe it reminded him of his mom or he wanted one that was his own? Either way, Adam was able to find and transport a mattress for Mikerdo and spoke with him about the importance of sleeping inside at night. Since then, Mikerdo has been sleeping in his house.
Bethany (Director of Special Needs Programming), Judith (Director of Special Education at LIFE Academy), Adam (Director of Community Development), and Benjamin (Director of Family Empowerment) met to discuss how we, at myLIFEspeaks, could best help Mikerdo and made a plan of action. Ultimately, staff members across several departments came together to help.
A LIFE Academy staff member offered to cover Mikerdo's school fee. Benjamin purchased new socks and shoes that he needed for school. Adam spent one-on-one time with Mikerdo, playing with him, and talking to him. He also took Mikerdo to get his hair cut for school, paying for it out of his own pocket.
Since Mikerdo lives 3 miles away from Neply, Adam also found someone local who was willing to help Mikerdo get ready for school each morning and then be there when he got home to wash his uniform.
We are so proud of how our Haitian leadership has gone above and beyond to help Mikerdo by speaking up for him when he couldn't speak for himself. It has been amazing to see everyone rally together to better Mikerdo's LIFE.
This is what myLIFEspeaks is all about.
Read more about our in-home feeding assistance program that helps local children and families stay together!