• Dare Humanity

In the first week of summer, Haiti had already undergone a vaccine crisis, a fatal shootout, a destructive hurricane, and the assassination of the country’s president on July 7th. Haiti was already in the midst of other ongoing problems such as gang violence, kidnapping, and rising Covid infections, but the weeks that followed shifted the country’s course. We at Dare Humanity are continuing to serve our beneficiaries through the fallout of these events and we are not letting them cloud our mission: to advocate for an enhanced life for women, children and families who live in underserved communities. ​

When the Covid-19 pandemic became a worldwide issue, some countries were hit harder by the virus than others, though surprisingly, Haiti wasn’t as affected as most people thought it would be. Another side effect of the government’s instability and the violent gangs was a shooting in the capital city of Port au Prince that left at least 15 people dead. The Police Chief, Leon Charles, alleges that the shooting was provoked by the killing of a member of a group of disgruntled police officers called Fantom 509 and that the perpetrators of the attack were vengeful members of the group. This is another instance of violence that Haiti has experienced recently that could just act to lengthen the already long list of similar events, but instead is prompting some to speak out. For instance, Marie Rosy August Ducena of the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights says that Haiti is “in a situation where human rights are being denied and life is being trivialized… We cannot continue to count bodies every day.”

Given Port au Prince’s ongoing instability, unfortunately between 15-50% of residents of the capital city are facing food insecurity. With the Helping Hands program, we are providing food for families in Port au Prince twice a month so that they can stay healthy and fed even when the violence in the streets keeps them from leaving their homes.

Although the vaccine release and tragic shooting were somewhat controllable, the tropical storm that hit Haiti over the weekend of July 3rd was entirely unavoidable. Hurricane Elsa brought 70 mile per hour winds and showers of rain to the southern coast of Haiti, taking trees and roofs with it. Fortunately, communities like Sonyen, Deluge, and Port au Prince where our sponsored students go to school, were not in Hurricane Elsa’s path and able to avoid any serious damage.

Now, to end with surely the most shocking event of Haiti’s history, is the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. In an overnight attack on Wednesday, July 7th, a group of gunmen broke into the president’s home, ransacked his offices and bedroom before shooting him 12 times and speeding away. The Haitian ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond, claimed that the attackers were “foreign mercenaries” masquerading as U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents. That Wednesday evening, less than a day after the attack, a shootout took place in Port au Prince between police forces and the suspected “foreign mercenaries,” which ended with four of the assailants dead and two in custody.

Moïse was killed days after announcing the appointment of a new prime minister, Ariel Henry, though hours after the attack, the interim prime minister, Claude Joseph, announced that he is in charge of the country. With his newfound and self appointed position, Joseph has decided to place the country under a “state of siege,” meaning that Haiti is essentially under martial law for 15 days which gives police special accommodations to find the assassins, but may just cause even more fear for the citizens. New developments on the “new government” in Haiti can be found here.

Protests overwhelmed streets in Haiti upon the announcement of President Moïse's assassination with people looking for answers and some wanting to retaliate.

People expressed their lack of support for President Moïse and his activities, but as an organization, we do not stand for violence and we are truly heartbroken that such an event occured.

Image source: The Wall Street Journal - A protest against the president’s assassination in Cap-Haïtien; Photographer: Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters

Haiti’s political environment is turbulent to say the least, and this month has caused irreversible changes that will affect the future of the country, but it’s only the changes that are irrevocable, not their impact. Despite the crises affecting the country right now, we know the people of Haiti are resilient and hopeful for a better future. We are continuing our efforts to strengthen partnerships with our communities, provide food for families in need, and fund the education of our sponsored students. Stay connected to hear more about our work and ways you can help the people of Haiti stay safe, educated, and empowered.

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  • Dare Humanity

Olslina Jannaeus

In January of this year, five year old Olslina Jannaeus was kidnapped from the Port-au-Prince streets where she played. Her mother, a peanut vendor, wasn’t able to pay the $4,000 in ransom, and Olslina’s body was dumped a week later.

Evelyne Sincère

Evelyne Sincère was a 22 year old high school senior, abducted from Port-au-Prince in late 2020. Her kidnappers requested $5,500 for her return and revoked the $800 that Evelyne’s sister raised. Then, they beat and sexually assaulted Evelyne, leaving her body in a garbage dump.

Sadly, these cases aren’t rarities; kidnappings in Haiti have tripled since 2019, and the real figures are surely much higher because many abductions go unreported out of fear of retribution from the gangs of kidnappers. In 2004 Haiti went through a similar epidemic of kidnapping, so bad that the United Nations had to send in peacekeeping forces for the civil unrest. Though once those forces left two years ago, the rates resurged.

The current wave of kidnapping is a product of Haiti’s poor economy and unstable government. The government’s decades long struggle is due to several regime changes, internal conflicts, and coup d'états, which have all contributed to a history of impunity that allows the abductions to proceed while justice for the victims recedes.

Many citizens oppose the current government for being so insecure, which has caused the current president, Jovenel Moïse, to allegedly form alliances with violent criminal gangs to maintain his power and stifle dissent. Some human rights activists say that the government has provided the gangs with the money and materials to terrorize his opposers while guarding them from prosecution. The lucrativeness of kidnapping and the government's protection has caused the number of armed gangs to multiply, along with the number of missing children.

Though the kidnappings began due to economic stress, they are now causing even more damage to Haiti’s economy by diminishing interest in tourism. The areas where we work and that house our sponsored students like Saint-Marc and Montrouis are being hit hard by the absence of tourists. Saint-Marc and Montrouis are beautiful coastal cities with nice beaches and wonderful tropical weather that make them a perfect destination for local and international tourism, but the kidnapping and violence have begun to overshadow their idyll. Because of the abductions and gang presence, very few people dare to travel to enjoy the beaches which has caused the unemployment rate of tourism reliant jobs to surge. Social infrastructure is already poor and neglected in the Saint-Marc and Montrouis area, and the soaring kidnapping rates are making it worse. This area houses insufficient and low standard schools, and the countrysides around them have very few or in most cases, no school at all. The majority of the people living in these areas can’t even afford to pay for the education of their children, and less so if they’re unemployed. Not only is kidnapping taking away Haiti’s children, but it is taking away parent’s livelihood and thus, tuition and education for their kids.

The majority of the impacts Haiti is facing due to the kidnapping crisis are political and economic that can be seen through the statistics and data, but it is arguable that the invisible impacts, the psychological damages of the constant abductions, are the most detrimental. Because the bandits abduct anyone regardless of their income, sex, age, or religion, including even doctors and priests, no one is safe. A lot of students in Saint-Marc, including those that we know and who’s education we sponsor, are living in fear that they might be kidnapped too. Although the majority of kidnappings happen in Port-au-Prince, the capital, there are at least two major gangs and several smaller ones in and around Saint-Marc which commit similar atrocities like killing, armed robbery, rape, and kidnapping. These circumstances are stripping the children of their innocence because they are no longer oblivious to what is happening in their communities. It’s possible that their own siblings or friends have been the victims of the tragedies they hear about, or that they have seen the atrocities live, on social media, where the kidnappers post videos of themselves raping and torturing the victims. The children are rightfully scared, but the issue isn’t right.

Although Haiti’s current chapter is indubitably sad, it’s easy to read the victim’s stories and move on. You will only feel the smallest ache of grief compared to the heartbreak of each mother, father, husband, wife, sibling, and friend who loses a loved one. You can move on and forget their names and stories, but the issue still prevails. The rampant impunity in the country, the poor infrastructure in education, and the lack of other basic social services in Saint-Marc, and Haiti overall, have made it easier for a kid to integrate into a gang than to complete school. Nevertheless, education is one of the few alternatives that can help change the community for the better. You can act now and donate to support the education of Haiti’s children.

About the Author:

Simone Faulkner is our Blog and Partnerships Intern at Dare Humanity. Growing up in the Bay Area, with its reputation for social change, she realized that her purpose in life is to help people through service and kindness. This is what she plans to do as an intern for Dare Humanity by writing blog posts and exploring partnerships with companies. When she's not volunteering she loves to play soccer, write, bake, and explore the outdoors.

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  • Dare Humanity

We want to start by saying thank you for your continued support in our efforts to provide resources for our communities in Haiti. Without you, this dream would not be possible. As 2020 came to a close, we’ve accomplished goals and now have a fresh outlook for 2021.

Last year, we made some changes within Dare Humanity. Aside from implementing a new policy for our sponsored students, we have also started a partnership and have made the commitment to sponsor students from a new school. Unfortunately, we are no longer working with one of the communities, Deluge. We were not able to agree with the leader of Deluge about our program policies. We will still be sponsoring the students that we selected from their community since that remains our priority. As we increase in the amount of students sponsored, we want to ensure that the communities we serve are honest, communicate effectively, and work alongside the guidelines Dare Humanity has put in place. We are believing the best for the community of Deluge.

Late last year, we received additional students under our Young Dreams Sponsorship Program.Our Young Dreams Sponsorship Program aims to provide an opportunity for children to receive quality education. With your support, our program has provided tuition and resources for our youth in the communities of Haiti. Within this program, we have implemented new policies for the parents and students.

Alongside our goals, Dare Humanity initiated a new food giveaway program in November of 2020, that fed 280 plus people in 2020. Every other Sunday, Men Kontre, also known as Helping Hands, has volunteered to give non perishable food located in the capital of Haiti, Port Au Prince, to families that are in need. Our Clean water initiative is still in effect and we are researching opportunities to bring clean water to the community of Sonyen. Last year we participated in a virtual “Water Run/Walk” event that will be discussed further.

In November of 2021, our founder, Kia HarrisTattegrain was able to visit our communities and implement a structure for our Young Dreams Sponsorship Program. With these new policies, we want to ensure our students are receiving the quality education they deserve.

Our Founder, Kia and her husband and AB Member, Woodelore

Let us take a look at this year's policies and goals for our Young Dreams Sponsorship Program below:

  • We aim to have 50 students total on our list of sponsorship by the end of this year.

  • Our new policy includes: students maintaining a 7.5/10 for the academic year at 80% attendance rate and participation in additional lessons provided by Dare Humanity.

  • Our policy also includes: families will accept designated schools selected by the organization (to be implemented in the next academic year) and agree to direct payment of tuition to the school given by our organization.

  • We will also ensure our students are attending some of the best schools in the area by partnering with other schools. This will then require specific criteria for the selection of the school our sponsored students will attend, including but not limited to, qualified teachers, diverse offerings, and distance from the communities.

With these plans taken into consideration for 2021, we gladly thank you for your support in sponsorship. We look forward to seeing these plans become a positive outcome.

Moving forward, as stated above, our new food program, Men Kontre, Helping Hands has provided families with food every other Sunday. With the kind donations of individuals like you, we were able to feed over 280 people and our goal is to feed up to 1,000 people this year. Dare Humanity cannot thank you enough for your generosity and support to fulfill our mission and vision, which is, to advocate for an enhanced life for women, children and families who live in underserved communities worldwide, to achieve and sustain wellness, self-sufficiency, and entrepreneurship in the communities we currently serve in Haiti. With Helping Hands being a success to the community in Port au Prince, we will start collecting data from families who are receiving the food. We want to have a better understanding of our recipients. We aim to collect data on family size and their income to develop an organized plan that will help us in distribution of the food every other Sunday. Again, we thank you for your donations as we are able to achieve these goals with your support.

In September of 2020 we participated in a virtual event called “The Water Run/Walk”. This event was created to establish our clean water initiative and ensure that Dare Humanity continues to support our communities in Haiti for many years to come. This virtual event helped us raise awareness to the major health concerns, and the amount of time community members have to walk, 25 minutes, every day to get access to clean drinking water. Thank you to those of you that participated in this event. It helped us realize the importance of getting out everyday, walking for at least a mile, and having a goal in mind. Our goal was to remember the families in Haiti that have to make this commitment every day to have healthy hygiene. Our community members in Sonyen are still in need of clean water to cook, bathe, wash clothes and drink.

By Mid-year, our goal is to develop a plan of action on how we will establish our clean water initiative. We look forward to working with our newest Advisory Board Member, Vijay Duraipalam, who will be actively involved in the development of this initiative. Get to know our members in our “About Us” section as well. Access to clean water is a basic human right. With the help of you and our team, we aim to provide clean drinking water in Haiti by installing at least one well. We'd like to take a moment to thank the Dare Humanity Family for providing donations on a monthly basis.

This concludes our plans for now. Please feel free to contact us, stay up to date and read our latest blog posts. Great things are in store for Dare Humanity and we are happy to have you here. There is always an opportunity for you to join us and make an impact on the lives we serve. To find out how to donate to Haiti, you can click here. Take care for now

About The Author

Chelsea Castellanos is a Wife and a Mother. She is currently working from home as a Blogger for Faith and Imperfection. Chelsea is passionate about her career as an Entrepreneur. She has experience in freelance work; such as content creation, copy, and writing email campaigns. Chelsea is also an Ambassador for Dare Humanity Non Profit Organization. You find her increasing her knowledge through reading and online courses, homeschooling her children, or spending quality time alone with God. Chelsea Castellanos strives everyday to show up as her best self and seeks to grow and inspire others to be self-sufficient as well.

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