From the Associated Press: Life has never been easy for the disabled in Haiti. The blind and deaf and amputated often shoulder a social stigma, their disabilities dismissed as the product of a hex, and few have access to physical therapy or social services. But when the 2010 earthquake displaced forced hundreds of thousands of people into post-apocalyptic-like tent cities, a sliver of the homeless disabled population landed in the closest thing to a model community. They moved into neat plywood shelters along tidy gravel lanes in a settlement designed to house them. They formed a close-knit colony of sorts with ramps for their wheelchairs made out of discarded pool furniture and solar-powered lights to help the deaf communicate with sign language. The rare respite for the estimated 500-plus people living here, however, will soon end as the government moves to reclaim the land. “We’ll protest because we have no place else to go,” one resident said through an interpreter.
From the Associated Press: When he was a teen, Damian Lopez was injured by a high-voltage electrical wire when untangling a kite. He lost both his forearms and the incident melted much of the skin from his face. But Lopez, 35, is close to realizing an unlikely dream by representing Cuba at the 2012 London Paralympics in cycling, the sport that he says kept him from drowning in self-pity and despair. “After the accident I didn’t want to leave the house, but some friends came looking for me to play. That was key,” Lopez said. The Cuban Cycling Federation is supporting Lopez’s bid for an invitation to the Paralympic games, and an answer is expected in mid-April.
New York has opened the first U.S. senior citizens center dedicated exclusively to LGBT residents, one of eight initiatives launched by the city to improve the lives of the elderly. Another initiative targets the blind. AFP reports that 1.3 million elderly people live in New York among a population of 8.17 million residents. Their numbers are expected to grow by 46 percent over the next 25 years.
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