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Sickle Cell Anemia in Haiti: One Woman is Doing Her Part To Bring Relief Featured

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Sickle cell disease affects many Haitians and most of them are 

young children.There are few treatments for it, and experts say not enough is being done to prevent and cure those who are affected by the disease. One person has devoted her energy and resources to help fight this crisis. It is Valentine Joseph, the person who leads the JJ Foundation, that has been bringing much needed relief to many children in Haiti affected by the disease.

HB sat with her to expand on the gravity of the crisis.

 

HB- When did you start the organization?

VJ- JAYJ Foundation for Women and Children was created in 2014.

 

HB- How does the organization function?

JAYJ Foundation is a Florida non-profit organization with a 501 (C)(3) tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. This status allows us to solicit and receive donations from the public, which can be tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. We have yearly missions to St. Louis du Sud, Haiti where we provide back-to-school supplies, toys and 600 meals to schoolchildren during the Christmas Holiday Season. We have also granted 26 school scholarships and distributed over 800 care kits to women. This past year, we were planning a medical mission with over 27 medical volunteers. Unfortunately, due to the insecurity in Haiti these past months, we had to postpone this mission. We hope to reschedule once the country is stabilized.

 

HB- How does the past bear on your current quest to help children in Haiti who suffer from sickle cell Anemia Disease?

I lost three brothers to Sickle Cell Anemia Disease in Haiti due to limited healthcare access in Haiti. Hence, my brothers were never properly diagnosed with this deadly disease. I connected the dots many years later when my only child and countless other relatives were diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease and presented with the exact symptoms as my brothers did.
How has the journey being so far?

As with any new venture, things have been challenging but we are very hopeful. Our donor base has grown and we are working on new ideas to advance our mission.

HB- How do you get funding?

VJ- In the very first year, I, along with a few Board Members, were the primary source of funding for the Foundation. Our current funding now comes from individual donors and a few corporate sponsors for which we are very grateful. We also organize a yearly Gala in West Palm Beach, FL to raise funds for our Sickle Cell Initiative.

HB- You work with mostly children, how does this affects you?

VJ- I love children! I firmly believe that we must adequately invest, care and provide in terms of education, healthcare and well-being for all children around the world. Besides being the Founder of JAYJ Foundation, I have also been a Senior Wish-Granter with the Make-A-Wish Foundation where I granted over 50 wishes to terminally ill children in the South Florida area. Whether it is here in South Florida or in Haiti, seeing these kids suffer with a chronic illness or with malnutrition respectively is devastating to me. While the work is very challenging, being able to assist and advocate on behalf of these children is truly rewarding, fulfilling and I could not be happier.

 

HB- What do you want to accomplish for those children?

VJ- If I can make one day special or make a difference in one child’s life, then I have fulfilled JAYJ Foundation’s mission and nothing would please me more.

 

HB- A lot of inequality in Haiti, in every aspect, how do you implement the equity approach to benefit the children?

VJ- JAYJ Foundation foremost mission is to SERVE each child and woman with the upmost respect and preserving his/her, dignity at all times. Priority is given to the most vulnerable children as well as the elderly.

 

HB- Your organization tries to get more to the most disadvantaged children. What about all other children, children of the middle class for example?

All mission related work, including our Back to School, Toy and Meal distributions, are geared towards the most vulnerable children. However, JAYJ Foundation will aid and advocate for all Sickle Cell Disease children and adults regardless of income status in the United States and in Haiti.

 

HB- What do you want people to know about your organization and what can they do if they want to help?

VJ- I created the Foundation to honor my three brothers’ senseless deaths in Haiti; to bring awareness to Sickle Cell Disease; and to advocate for greater access to health care and healthy living services, education, for women and children in the United States and in Haiti.

In order to fulfill our mission, we need the support of everyone who believes in our cause and who wants to make a difference in the life of those less fortunate. Your generous donation, however big or small, is greatly appreciated. For learn more about JAYJ Foundation, please visit our website at www.jayjfoundation.org or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 HB- Any final word?

VJ- Sickle Cell Disease primarily affects Blacks around the world and deserves greater attention. My daughter was one of the fortunate children who has thrived with this disease and I feel very blessed for that. My only goal is to continue to bring awareness to Sickle Cell Disease and do my part in making a difference in a child’s life, one at a time. So would you please join me in spreading the word about this dreadful, painful and deadly disease?

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