Virginia Project

Initiative: Breaking the Barriers Program
Partner / Beneficiary: Andrea Bocelli Foundation


Francesca Rava Foundation helps children in difficult conditions in Italy and worldwide, through long distance adoptions, projects, activities to raise awareness about children’s rights, voluntary and represents in Italy the humanitarian international organization N.P.H. – Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (our little brothers) founded in 1954 by Father W. B. Wasson, who since then has saved thousands of orphans and abandoned children in his houses and hospitals in Latin America.

Saint Damien Pediatric Hospital, Tabarre: The Saint Damien Hospital is a center of excellence, the biggest pediatric hospital in the Caribbean which can provide assistance to 80,000 children a year, 4,500 mothers and their babies.
The hospital employs 400 Haitians helped by volunteers coming from hospitals all around the world.


The Foundation has decided to support for one year (June 2012 – June 2013) the Department of neonatology of the Saint Damien Pediatric Hospital of Tabarre, dealing with the professional development of the internal staff totally Haitian, in the intention of creating a specialized staff, gradually making the department able of being self-sustainable.

In addition to all this the Foundation has contributed to create the emergency room of the neonatology ward.

In neonatology are treated premature babies (who are often born with a weight less than 1500 gr.) or having neonatal diseases, often born from malnourished mothers. The department has 32 beds in intensive and sub intensive therapy and is affiliated with the Hospital Bambin Gesu in Rome.


  1. Implement The Department of Neonatology with tools and specialized  expertise by providing new equipment and training for the Haitian personnel
  2.  Empowerment of the local Community to stimulate lasting improvements in the quality of life on the island.


30.000 patients/year and department staff.


In Haiti more than 520 women every 100.000 childbirths die for complications during pregnancy or childbirth, a maternal mortality rate 20 times higher than in industrialized countries which is the cause of another dramatic reality: in Haiti 16% of minor populations are orphans.

Every year 74 children out of 1,000 live births do not reach the first year of life. On 10,000 pregnant women roughly 4% are HIV-positive and transmit the virus to their baby. There are many children who are born with birth defects or disabilities due to mismanaged childbirths, infections and neonatal undiagnosed diseases.

Mothers are very young, as soon as they reach the reproductive age (11/12 years) may experience the first pregnancy. They do not undergo any checks nor have the means and the possibility to change their eating habits. Malnutrition and the absence of supplements like folic acid, dramatically impact on the conditions and growth of the fetus. They usually give birth in their huts, in absolute lack of hygiene and adequate care in case of complications both for mother and child.

The Saint Damien Hospital with its neonatology is situated in the heart of the island of Haiti and thanks also to the department of neonatology works to reduce the high mortality rate on the island.

Source: NPH website


  • Support of the neonatology unit training
  • purchasing the equipment for the new operating room