Alpha Phi Alpha and Haitian American Caucus, Ongoing Developments in Haiti
- Monday, May 30, 2011 5:29 PM
CROIX-DES-BOUQUETS, Haiti - Back in January the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. announced plans to help rebuild an elementary school damaged during the earthquake. In a partnership with the Haitian American Caucus the efforts continue in Haiti with long-term programs for development.
The need for sustainable projects and development is what is necessary for building, as opposed to rebuilding, a better Haiti.
Samuel Darguin, a graduate of Harvard who studied Labor and Worklife and a Political Science graduate from Stony Brook University, spoke to me about their efforts in Haiti that are aimed and long-lasting support in the country, starting in the small town of Croix-des-Bouquets where he also serves as a representative for YÃ©lÃ© Haiti.
Haitian American Caucus - Alpha Phi Alpha stroll
Establishment of the Alpha Academy
The world's oldest Greek letter fraternity for black men, Alpha Phi Alpha , has scores of Haitian-born members and Haitian descendants among the initiated.
In the aftermath of the earthquake the fraternity began collecting funds, and supplies. It sent a delegation of their members including health and medical professionals, educators and social scientists, to Haiti on a humanitarian mission.
The delegation, was led by the fraternity's General President Herman "Skip" Mason, Jr. , and their efforts led to the locating of more than 15 families of the members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity living in and around Port-Au-Prince. Those families received direct contributions of cash, food, tents, toiletries, and first aid supplies. They were given a chance to send video messages back to their relatives in the U.S., letting them know they had survived.
In July 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, the fraternity held its annual convention, where delegates adopted a plan to renovate one of the schools in the Croix-des-Bouquets . The school became known as the Alpha Academy.
In an article published in January by Black News the fraternity's General President, Mason, was quoted saying, "we've had an architect and members of the fraternity pay a visit to the site and we have schematic designs for the renovation of the school ready to go. We are pleased to announce that plans are underway for renovation to begin in March, with completion scheduled for midsummer."
Continued Efforts through the Haitian American Caucus
The Haitian American Caucus says "LÃ© a rive!" or the "Time has come! With this as the organization's motto, they have mobilized Haitian-Americans to bring unique development projects at the Alpha Academy and through the community of Croix-des-Bouquets.
Speaking with one of the organization's founders, Samuel Darguin, we learned that the group makes several trips throughout the year where efforts are concentrated at sustainable developments with the community.
Developments included training and infrastructural work and the sharing of ideas and customs from the U.S. to Haiti. The projects included economic, educational and community development.
For their economic mission the group began a community garden a tree nursery and a seed bank. Goats, being durable and smaller than most farm animals are being provided to Haitian families as well. It is an effort to sustain families and expand their livestock by giving those who demonstrate need a female goat to begin breeding.
The HAC is supporting a metal artisans project as well and microfinance to support trade and bring products from Haiti to international markets.
Darguin was pleased to announce the beginning of literacy courses and arithmetic lessons, for anyone who wishes to participate. Primary schools at the academy have also begun at Ecole Shalom. Along with other partnering organizations students can be sponsored for $125 per year to support books and lessons. Training the trainers is another sustainable project initiated by the group. It is done through the Teachers' Summer Institute, where qualified teachers and administrators can travel to hold week long training programs.
HAC introduced in March 8 of this year, International Women's Day, women's empowerment seminars. In these efforts they facilitated communication and personal development classes. Civic participation is important so holding quarterly meetings with citizens of the community and the Mayor's Office of Croix-des-Bouquets have begun. These meetings offer more empowerment to the community giving an opportunity for individuals to voice there concerns and work together.
The Haitian American Caucus encourages participation and anyone interested in joining or donating may please visit HACUS.org | Anyone interested in donating to the fund through the ALpha Phi Alpha fraternity please visit APA1906.net .