Affiliate Contact Name: Ms. Marjorie Bertrand Dumornay
Currently, Ignitus Haiti runs after school programs and children’s clubs that are engaging the youth and empowering them to become active in their communities. There are plans to produce a TV show that focuses on childrens’ rights and provides them with knowledge on opportunities they can pursue in their own communities. These projects have been successful because of the commitment of our young volunteers; professionals and community leaders.
Ignitus CEO visits Haiti
Former Ignitus CEO Chris DiCarlo had the opportunity to visit with the tremendous young adults and youth leaders associated with the program in Haiti. Upon his return DiCarlo was quoted “clearly there is a need for our youth led program Haiti and I will do everything in my power to help it move forward” and immediately announced the awarding of a grant that will assist the group to participate in United Nations sponsored meetings and will allow the group to work with leading NGOs like the Red Cross, CARE and UNICEF.
Active in the tent cities that have sprang up due to the destruction caused by the devastating earthquake in January, our Haitian program assists youth with associated trauma and helps them think positively about the future. It brings music, artistic and sports programs to those who lost the homes and families.
Haiti Devastated by Earthquake, Struggles to Rise from the Rubble
Marjorie Dumornay, leader of Youth Crime Watch /Jeunes Contre la Criminalité of Haiti, has succeeded in making contact with friends in the Ignitus network across the globe. Offers of help and support came in from sister programs such as those in Jamaica, Brazil and the US. Haiti’s international liaison, Daphnee Bertrand, based in New York State, is actively in touch with the program as well and has been instrumental in maintaining contact.
Marjorie’s home was completely destroyed in the quake but she and her family all survived and are living in a nearby park with friends and neighbors. The community there has really come together and Marjorie reports that neighbors share meals and other essentials and try their best to help one another. On the other hand, she sees the desperation in the camps, where the erratic distribution of inadequate relief sometimes just exacerbates the suffering – forcing survivors to fight amongst themselves just for a drink of water. Banks are still closed. Internet and phone lines are overloaded. Yet YCW members have begun to come together, as they have in past disasters in this tiny island nation, to be a force for good.
“With life there is always hope,” reads Dumornay’s email, “Life is restarting in Haiti even [though] many people are trying to leave the country… We’re still there, keeping fighting.” She reports that YCW members have been striving to get in touch with others and that many youth, particularly those in the hard-hit Cite Soleil, have sought help and support. The need is great; for food, for medicine and medical treatment, for water, clothes, and shelter. People are pitted against one another for the desperately inadequate relief supplies being distributed in camps and communities. Marjorie implores international aid organizations to respect the dignity of survivors, to avoid situations which set them against each other. She also points out that relief workers must attempt to help those in the greatest need first.
“Our motto for all our youth is: Haitians have to rebuild Haiti, because Haiti is for Haitians,” she says, “Even though people around the world are sympathizing, no one will stay or come to Haiti if it’s not safe. But Haitians will still have to stay there to live or die. Sharing is what we’re trying to teach now…. We’re not going to punch or kick our brothers and sisters for help.”
Haiti’s YCW group has resolved to help all that they can. They plan to contribute to support the captain of the team that won their last Domino Tournament at Cité Soleil and hope that others will be able to find help as well. The group mourns the loss of Victoria, “not only a partner, but also a friend, mother, and sister for all the young people in Cité Soleil, she changed their lives… just by trusting.” Group members continue to act in the community to encourage youth to come together in this time of need. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
Dominoes tournament cements youth-police bonds
In a follow-up to the Cité Soleil conflict resolution training organized by Haitian youth, police and young people in that troubled neighborhood met for a series of cooperative events culminating in a dominoes tournament. The tournament was made possible with the help of the U.S. Embassy in Port Au Prince. There is a full story on the embassy website. “Embassy supported dominoes tournament.”