Supporting Attawapiskat: a discussion on meaningful support

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Attawapiskat doctor talks about how crisis affects women and children

It is hard for new mothers to get new homes for their new families. A lot of these young women must live with relatives or extended families. Sometimes a new mother asks me to write a letter to the band to get a new house because her baby was being exposed to fumes or smoke from another house member who was using drugs.

Sometimes because of mould or inadequate heat in the home. This doesn’t help because there is a 5-year waitlist for housing. It is hard for women to care for their children if they don’t have running water. It is also hard for kids and teenagers to study in crowded living conditions because of the distractions from other family members. Some kids are refusing to go to school because they are ashamed of the severity of their skin rashes or allergies. Some women have difficulty with alcohol or drug addictions and have gone for treatment, but when other people in their home are also having problems, they get drawn back into it as soon as they come home. They have nowhere else to go. Women who get pregnant at a young age have difficulty finishing school. It is hard for women who have a lot of children to come in for medical appointments. If they need to see a specialist, they have to leave the community and their families and travel overnight alone. Sometimes they can’t find anyone to care for their children, so they don’t go to their medical appointments, other times the weather is bad and the flights are cancelled- it can be months before they are rebooked.

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