“The Fish Room” – A Christmas Story
Founded in 1989, NPH Haiti’s St. Damien Pediatric Hospital is the only hospital wholly dedicated to pediatric and prenatal care in the nation.
Nearly one million Haitians have a disability, representing 10% of the population. Children with special needs, in most cases, arrive at the hospital in a medical emergency, and their parents do not return, abandoning them. In 2006, the staff at St. Damien responded to the great need to assist children with disabilities by creating the “Fish Room.” The Fish Room typically accommodates abandoned children with cerebral palsy, microcephaly, neurological issues, or other conditions. Determined to give them a new chance in life, the staff does everything possible to ensure, in addition to care, the emotional well-being of these children.
During the Christmas season, the Fish Room becomes festive, decorated with a giant Christmas tree, garland, shiny bulbs, and many gift boxes under the tree. The children receive gifts such as stuffed animals, cars, drawing books, and others.
Eight-year-old Alex, was abandoned in the hospital at the HIV services. Hospitalized for a few weeks, he was transferred to the Fish Room after the staff realized he had been abandoned. Alex loves Christmas and dreams of being photographed with Santa Claus. He loves singing along to Christmas music and has asked Santa Claus for a car game with roads and bridges. While Alex is progressing in his tuberculosis treatment, and in the second phase for HIV, he will remain at the hospital until it is safe to transfer to St. Hélène Foyer, NPH’s main children’s home, 25 miles from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.