Client Stories

10 Years Later: CLM Graduate Elsie and Her Son Kervenson

Kervenson and his mother in 2024.

Elsie and Kervenson

In 2013 and 2014, while Elsie was in the Fonkoze CLM program, the staff discovered an issue with her young son, Kervenson. He couldn’t attend school due to what Elsie believed was severe back pain, causing him to slump forward, supporting his weight on his hands.

Kervenson in Haiti
Kervenson as a boy in 2013.

Concerned about a four-year-old experiencing such pain, the CLM team sought expertise from the Partners in Health/Zanmi Lasante University Hospital’s new physical therapy clinic. They were advised to take Kervenson to the emergency room immediately. At the hospital, the true issue was revealed through vital signs: Kervenson suffered from severe shortness of breath caused by a congenital heart defect. His condition required surgery, unavailable in Haiti. However, Partners in Health collaborated with the Haiti Cardiac Alliance (HCA), which arranged for Kervenson to have the surgery in the United States. The Fonkoze CLM team facilitated the process, including obtaining passports and visas, and Kervenson and Elsie traveled to New Orleans for his treatment.

Kervenson in the US getting medical treatment
Kervenson and his mother while in the US getting medical treatment.

Hosted by a Haitian-American family, Kervenson received the necessary surgery. Upon returning to Haiti, his health improved dramatically, and he became a healthy, playful child.

10 years later

Kervenson and his mother in 2024.
Kervenson and his mother in 2024 in Haiti.

Ten years later, Kervenson lives with Elsie and her three other sons along the road from Mibalè to Laskawobas. He continued seeing cardiologists regularly, but access to care became difficult as HCA’s operations moved and travel became dangerous due to escalating violence. Eventually, CLM arranged for Kervenson to see a cardiologist in northern Haiti, providing necessary transportation and accommodation.

On April 2nd, Kervenson had a successful check-up in Okap. The cardiologist reported that his heart functioned normally, only prescribing medication for intestinal parasites.

Beyond the Program

CLM is a graduation program designed for members to become self-sufficient after 18 months. While the program officially ends at graduation, the Fonkoze CLM team remains committed to exceptional cases like Elsie’s. 

This story was originally shared by Steve Werlin, Fonkoze Foundation’s CLM Program, on his blog.

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