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Haiti's First Children's Hospital
Haiti Rejoices as 'Smile of a Child' -- the Nation's First Children's Hospital -- Nears Final Stage of Construction
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 19, 2005--"Soon Haitian children will have a hospital of their own thanks to Jan Crouch and Smile of a Child," declared Haiti's Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, during a recent interview.
Haiti, which is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, loses three out of its 20 children every year -- many before their fifth birthday. This has been widely attributed to Haiti's extreme poverty and the overwhelming need for medical care particularly in remote villages.
Enter Smile of a Child (SOC) the not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded by Jan Crouch in 1994.
The new Smile of Child hospital will feature a fully integrated 100-bed medical facility with an around-the-clock emergency room and totally functional surgical unit. The hospital also plans to provide outpatient medical services for Haitians of all ages, reported an SOC medical official.
"Smile of a Child is here to serve Haiti. We love Haiti. We love its people!" announced Crouch at a press conference in Haiti.
Almost completed, the hospital will spell the difference between life and death for many Haitians. With a population of more than 8 million people, Haiti experiences a severe lack of physicians.
Assisting Smile of a Child Hospital is Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan's Purse, and president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian charitable organization, has already agreed to donate all furnishings for the hospital.
"I guess I had never seen such poverty in my whole life," reflected Crouch upon her first visit to Haiti in the mid-'80s. "When I saw utterly poor children -- diseased, crippled, naked, and most of all pathetically hungry boys and girls -- playing in gutters in the filthiest water I had ever seen, it was beyond comprehension. There they were jumping up and down and slugging through gutters. My heart broke into a million pieces. I just knew immediately that something had to be done."
What initially began as a humanitarian feeding mission and toy drive for Haitian children has now exploded into a global outreach mission. Today, Smile of a Child improves the lives of tens of thousands of needy youngsters worldwide.
"Many of the children had never owned a new toy," said Crouch. "To see their faces light up when they receive a doll or new truck cannot be expressed in mere words -- it's priceless."
It was on "Praise the Lord," TBN's flagship production, that Haiti's prime minister expressed his appreciation on behalf of his country. He publicly thanked Jan Crouch and SOC for their sacrificial work in investing in the future of Haiti's children. Joining the prime minister on the program were his cabinet members. They too shared their gratitude for Smile of a Child's compassionate outreach.
Then the prime minister, in a powerful appeal, called upon the international Christian community to come to the aid of Haiti. A global audience was challenged to help Haiti acquire ambulances and fire engines.
"Call your mayor. Ask your local fire chief. Haiti can utilize your unused emergency vehicles to save lives. What may be outdated and below your nation's standard, Haiti can use," said the prime minister.
Crouch smiled and then replied to Latortue, "By this time tomorrow, Mr. Prime Minister, grandmas around the world will be on the phones and hard at work getting Haiti what it needs. It is a joy to help the Haitian people. God loves Haiti and so do we."
This too has come to pass. Haiti now has several used but perfectly useful ambulances and fire engines thanks to the efforts of SOC and TBN viewers who responded to the need.
In addition to the hospital, SOC has teamed up with Friend Ships (www.friendships.org), a relief organization that provides large-scale humanitarian aid and establishes development programs for people lacking essential human needs.
Friend Ships was involved with the actual delivery of the needed supplies. According to Friend Ships, SOC and TBN sent thousands of tons of emergency vehicles, hospital beds, hospital furniture, medical equipment, food, drinking water, clothes, teacher desks, clothing, bedding and sanitation supplies.
To learn more about Smile of a Child, please visit www.smileofachild.org. For information about TBN, please visit www.tbn.org.
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