Port-au-Prince – Since the day I met Emmanuel and Johnny in front of the Embassy, we have continued working together. They are the students you can see in the blog from January the 24th, “There isn’t much of a future for us”.
I’ve been paying them for their work as “fixers”. I thought they would carefully save the money for their very uncertain future, or perhaps spend it on basics to improve their comfort in the camp, like getting their own tent and so on.
But no, the students spent all their money on this organization which they started back in 2005. It is called FAD (Fonds D’Actions pour le Développement). The goal is to help the underprivileged kids around Cité Soleil and Bas Delmas. Before the quake, every Saturday, they would greet between 100 to 200 kids in the school of Bas Delmas, feed them and have creative activities.
Addressing poverty is not only providing food, clothing and shelter, but it is also providing intellectual stimulation, love, fun, creative energies, some more love, psychological counseling, laughter, group dynamics, skill development and so much more. The 50 members of FAD have been doing a great job at this since 2005. And they have been doing it on their own, even if in 2007 FAD was officially registered with the Haitian government. They would collect funds amongst themselves and buy as much food as they could. Most of the time it would just be plain rice, but occasionally there would be candies.
Since the earthquake, the FAD members have been victims as well, and it took a while for them to find each other, gather some money and start again. But they did it, and I was invited to attend the first “Hebdo-FAD” event after the disaster.
In the crowded class room, there is no bible and no God with any agenda or judging anyone’s sins, only a universal tolerant God sitting outside of all religions is present. There is a mix of kids from every faith, background, social class and age.
For the first hour, the kids sing fun songs, songs they have written themselves. They dance and clap their hands. The counsellors take turns doing different activities. In one of the activities, they talk about the earthquake, explain what it is, how it has happened before in other countries, and the fact that it is a natural phenomenon (not God punishing them for their sins). They talk about remembering the ones who didn’t make it, what it means to move on and keep growing and learning, rebuilding the country etc…
There are many foreign NGOs working in Haiti. There is a desperate need for help in hospitals, in the camps and in the orphanages, and it is important to send money to the main organizations like the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontiere so they can work on the ‘bigger jobs’.
But an organization like FAD is built by victims and young intellectuals who know the local culture and can play an important role in Haiti’s recovery as well, especially in the long run. Jose-Hancy Lamy (President of FAD) told me how they would like to take in more children, have the means to have more skill development activities, have their own building equipped with a kitchen among many other projects.
Since the FAD organization is officially registered with the government (No.STC-05902, 16 March, 2007), I am able to wire funds every week to help them continue.
Emmanuel will upload pictures and reports every week so we can follow their progress.