Bendjy’s Story of Hope
Bendjy was forced to live in survival mode under severe trauma for the first three years of his life. Before he came to Helping Haitian Angels (HHA) he was in another facility for mentally ill adults. Bendjy’s mom was a patient at this facility. She was violated and became pregnant. When Bendjy was born, his mother tried to suffocate him twice. This facility forced the mother to leave but kept Bendjy. During the first two years of his life, Bendjy was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. When he was three, a nun heard about these awful conditions and called us to remove him from this situation.
When Bendjy came to HHA’s family homes at age three, he was nonverbal and could barely walk. He would hit, kick, bite, and spit on any person that came within a couple feet of him. No one could approach him. As he grew, he couldn’t sit through church services or in school classrooms. He had nearly constant tantrums. When a child is so severely abused even love can seem threatening. An American psychologist diagnosed him with Autism brought on by trauma. He likely would have been neurotypical had he not been abused. The house parents at HHA struggled with Bendjy’s emotional needs for many months as they had to learn how to best help him.
HHA found an American and Haitian psychologist to partner together in order to treat Bendjy and educate his house parents. These psychologists gave his HHA house parents the necessary tools to understand and love Bendjy. HHA added a special education (butterfly) class to their primary school for all children who needed it, but Bendjy was the inspiration. He now goes to the butterfly class three hours a day five days a week and rarely has outbursts in any situation. His house parents have an amazing amount of love and patience for Bendjy and truly see him as their own. Bendjy had to learn that humans can be good and now, three years after first coming to HHA, Bendjy is a loving and affectionate 6-year-old boy. He can still be a bit mischievous! But, best of all, he knows he is loved and is able to love others.