April 2020
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Humanitarian Work

Women Support Haitian Schools and Clinics

My passion is to provide opportunities for American youth, especially Haitian-Americans, to work together with young people in Haiti to develop their homeland and promote a culture of living for the sake of others. Fourteen people, including students from the University of South Florida in Tampa, left Florida on June 15 to spend two weeks in Haiti making connections with youth and adults and looking for ways to serve. It was a joint project of the International Relief Friendship Foundation and the Women’s Federation for World Peace-USA.

We arrived in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. At Lycee Antoine Georges Izmery, we washed and scraped walls in preparation for painting. People from the community were eager to meet us, and we worked together to give the building a face-lift through a fresh coat of paint in preparation for the new school year that begins in September.

We also visited the Haitian Academy, which was founded in 1979 by Dr. Marie-Pologne Jacques Rene, a Women’s Federation for World Peace leader in Haiti. She told us how God had guided her to this location to build a clinic, with pre-kindergarten, primary and secondary schools and eventually a medical school.


At the Faculty of Ethnology, a university that focuses on social sciences, we handed out flyers promoting pure love, abstinence until marriage, and living for the sake of others. These students were keenly aware of the social ills of their society and expressed a desire to do something to solve them. They had many interesting questions about abstinence and were inspired by our desire to promote a moral lifestyle among the young people. A student club president expressed interest in further collaboration with the University of South Florida students.

Traveling by public bus to Cap-Haitien, a bustling city of half a million residents located on Haiti’s northern coast, we crossed mountains, saw banana plantations, and marveled at the many fruit trees and lush foliage. We were welcomed by Mayor Fritz Joseph and his wife Linda, who described his plans to build “Le Marche du Peuple,” a grand covered market where people will be able to sell their goods, and a dormitory for overnight stays. The problem that concerns him most is the lack of trucks to transport garbage to city dumps. We found Mayor Joseph to be a thoughtful and kind person who practices the principle of living for others, and we are investigating ways to obtain a truck for him.

We visited sites near Cap-Haitien connected with Haiti’s struggle for independence from France in the early 19th century: La Citadelle and the Sans Souci Palace were built by King Henry Christophe and are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites; Vertières is the site of a victorious battle for Haiti’s independence. We visited the Labadie resort, and at Trou Du Nord we witnessed the Feast Day celebration of the patron saint, John the Baptist.

At the University Hospital of Cap-Haitien, an administrator briefed us and we visited many wards to distribute toothbrushes and toothpaste. A lady told me about her son who had been shot in the head and leg and needed medical attention available only in Port-au-Prince. She had no money or means to get her son to the city. Before the day was over, the mayor arranged for her son to be transported by a United Nations helicopter to Port-au-Prince for medical care.

Each of us went with something to give and returned with many wonderful memories and tears. Haiti is truly a suffering country, but we found hope in the eyes of its young people. We saw firsthand the challenges they face and experienced the warmth of their hearts and faith in God.

The mutual experiences of giving, serving, and loving others touched many hearts. Several students from the University of South Florida in Tampa are making plans to develop the project further next year.

Evelyne Drake can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or comments.

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