Denièse Gains Independence

Denièse Isaac's disability appeared in 2006, when she woke one morning, tried to stand and found that her legs would not support her. The source of her disability remains a mystery, despite countless trips to the hospital. Since then, she has used a wheelchair.

Denièse currently lives in a Handicap International shelter with her five-year-old son, Vincent, her uncle, and her godparent. She was never offered rehabilitation services until after the earthquake, when she met a mobile team from Handicap International's Disability and Vulnerable Focal Points (DVFP). The team was doing outreach in the community, and Denièse needed a tent.

At first, she was making a 35-minute trip between the DVFP in Petit Goâve and the camp where she lived in her hospital wheelchair. Handicap International helped her get a RoughRider wheelchair.  This wheelchair, manufactured by Whirlwind Wheelchair International, is specifically designed for uneven terrain, which was a feature of Denièse's difficult commute.

At the Focal Point, Handicap International staff taught Denièse how to transfer herself in and out of the wheelchair, as well as exercises that make her feel better. In June 2010, this feisty and independent woman, who is quick to smile, conceded that her life has not been easy since she developed her disability. She had not been able to sew since she lost the use of her legs and relied on aid for income.

Today, she has no problem doing tasks around her house, such as cooking and washing. Her home is accessible, so that she can move in and out of it with her wheelchair; however, she cannot leave her courtyard without accompaniment. She still hopes to work as a dressmaker again, and to get a sewing machine.