Youth Haitian Empowerment Exchange Program
Youth Haitian Empowerment Exchange Program has been held under the campus of Saint Louis High School with fifteen (15) young community leaders (High School students) from all over the country (around seven municipalities).
During these two weeks in-person program, they had the opportunity of receiving different training on peacebuilding, human right respect, leadership and how to become social entrepreneurs from UN officials and a wide range of experts. The knowledge we shared with them was from a practical perspective also as they could visit the jail and the public hospital to get to know the living situation of these people living in such inhuman conditions.
One of the most important activities they realized is the visit to the Office of Citizen Protection where they learned from the director the actions they can ensure in case of human rights violation in their respective communities.
As a national office working to make Human Rights Respect a reality, they have each presented the ups and downs human rights respect from their community perspective and proposed at the same time some actions to undertake to make a difference. At the end of the program, the participants were divided on three group where they have had to work on advocacies on different topics. These documents are still processed to be sent to the Ministry of Human Rights In Haiti and to a few NGOs working for peacebuilding in Haiti.
These devoted young people are the answer to the why question of the implementation of this kind of project In Haiti. Witnessing their hard work and integrity in every work they had to produce make this project beyond all the issues one of the greatest achievements of my life!
We have conducted intergenerational meetings with different personalities including the dean of the city to hear their perspectives of change, so we know where exactly we need to direct our initiatives. The Pleas they have written is one of the tangible realizations of the program.
The difference comes from the fact that these young people have had the change to know more about managing their own organization and how to generate strong and lasting change in their communities. More than that, as Haiti is experiencing rising violence, teaching non-violent actions to young people who we certify will replicate the trainings received is a step toward a more educate society with a new generation of change-makers.
How the Funding Was Used
The $1,000 grant received was served to cover the half amount of money needed for food during the two weeks.
How They Made A Difference
I have been receiving emails from the participants thanking me for continuously inspiring them and showing them how to impact their community. Give back later, they say. But this program is a proof that I am devoted to give back to my community everything it has given to man I became, gratitude can be a daily choice. Give back now, I say.
The most important thing that I am proud of is the relationship between parents and staff members, we kept them informed about our daily activities and we inspired trust and honesty. Seeing myself, at only 18 years old, leading a program for younger students and having received their parental trust for 2 weeks, far from their respective cities means the world to me. This is an inspiration to remain honest, confident, and loyal to my values and dreams.
Let me further answer this question by quoting two participants of our program:
“It was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned a lot about human rights, project management, land use planning, peace, and social activism. This program has made me aware of the situation in which we live, where our fundamental rights are being flouted on a daily basis. After these two weeks of knowledge and experience, I felt the need to fight for the respect of human rights in Haiti. The most important moments for me were our visit to Saint Anthony’s Hospital, our visit to the Jérémie prison, and the MUN simulation in which I played the role of Human Rights Consul of La Saline. YEO gave me a second family, it’s priceless! Thank you so much for allowing me to have
such an experience.” – Wynetzca Juste
“YHEEP’22 was very beneficial to me because of the amount of knowledge I was able to learn about human rights, conflict management, peace… In addition to being a hybrid training program, it has been an excellent way of exchange between young people from different places, who share a tremendous interest in Haiti. I came out more determined to rebuild my country.” – Widmaier Siméo
How The Project Made A Difference for the Volunteers
Personally, it was a personal development. I studied project management before and attended several workshops under this topic. This program allows me to own this knowledge by experience. It has increased my sense of planification and prevision of unexpected, risks. It has also strengthened the relationship between my project team members as in front of each difficult situation we had to overcome, we were strong as a team, and everyone could to different extends address them.
Most importantly, this project gave me the chance of pursuing my dreams. I have been working for several years to inspire positive change. Directly with the brightest young Haitian students I have met in my life, I could influence them and share our common passions through workshop and this well-deserved program.
If we had the chance again, we would better define the partnership made with few organizations. Because one of them, responsible for flight tickets left us one week before the program. I had to seek for alternatives ways under time pressure to find money to buy plane ticket for all participants as no others means of transportation were available due to insecurity in Port-au-Prince.
If you are doing something you are really passionate about, obstacles cannot stop you. They only indicate you more ways to achieve your goals. (Love-Kendy Jourdan)