Post-earthquake conditions in Port-au-Prince, Haiti have made it difficult to maintain sufficient resources for children in orphanages. When families are faced with extreme poverty, many of these orphanages are known to take in children who actually have living parents that simply cannot provide for them or protect them from violence and exploitation.
Within the orphanages, older children tend to take on the responsibility of caring for infants, forming attachments between surrogate brothers and sisters. The orphanage supervisors, often referred to as Mother or Father, are generally responsible for caring for approximately 30 kids. Even with the sweetness and helpfulness of the orphans, the sheer number of them elevate these caretakers to superhero status. The kids often face medical issues that most children around the world deal with. However, the lack of resources sometimes causes these issues to go unnoticed and potentially worsen.
In my recent trips to Haiti, I have documented the strength of these children and surrogate families. Despite medical issues, poverty and displacement, they demonstrate heroic resilience and an admirable drive to learn.
Bess Adler is a documentary photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. She received a BFA for Photography and Imaging from New York University in 2008. Bess contributes to publications such as Metro New York, The Brooklyn Paper, Courier Life Publications, Eater New York, and City & State. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Engineering News Record and Visura Magazine as the spotlight photographer. In addition to working with publications, she has worked with Operation Groundswell in Haiti. In 2009, she attended an independent study residency in photography at the Tou Scene in Stavanger, Norway. Bess continues to work on personal projects and is available for assignment.
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