Carrefour-Feuilles, unhealthy a suburb in Port-au-Prince with a population of about 200, rx 000, has been greatly damaged by the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, the worst in 200 years. Schools, churches, hospitals, and homes in the community have collapsed. Even before the quake, Carrefour-Feuilles was a vulnerable community defined by shantytowns and an economically disadvantaged migrant population from the rural areas. With more than half of the total population in Carrefour-Feuilles under the age of 18, this young community needs support more than ever to ensure a bright future.
Haiti Soleil has been working with the community of Carrefour-Feuilles since 2006 by supporting the efforts of Bibliothèque du Soleil, a community library and cultural center on Avenue Magloire Ambroise. Before the quake, the library provided a safe space for residents to empower themselves and be active participants in their own community’s development.
Unfortunately, the library’s building was destroyed by the earthquake. The people who once used the library as a place of leisure and education will now need more immediate needs met: child care, medical assistance, job training, safe spaces to congregate and other services that libraries can provide in times of disaster.
Shortly after the quake, the staff of Bibliothèque du Soleil collaborated with a group of young leaders in the community and created an emergency group called Biwo Doleans Sosyal (BDS) to address these immediate needs. BDS provides assistance to the community, conduct needs assessments, offers condolences to the families who have lost loved ones, and documents stories and grievances from residents. Since then, the group has grown into an organized committee that brings invaluable resources to the community. It also organizes a successful psychosocial program that supports about 300 kids between the ages of 5-15 and their families. It collaborates with Bibliothèque du Soleil in all community activities and documentation projects.
With our institutional partner, the Center for Black Studies Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and its Haiti project, Haiti Soleil is committed to sustainable development in the community of Carrefour-Feuilles. We collaborate with educators, scholars, and researchers to facilitate workshops, training classes, and foster fruitful educational and cultural exchanges that will enhance the quality of living in the community of Carrefour-Feuilles. For more information, visit www.research.ucsb.edu/cbs/
Reconstruction of Bibliothèque du Soleil
The community believes in Bibliothèque du Soleil and its capacity to serve residents of Carrefour-Feuilles who have been greatly impacted by the earthquake. Although the library is not open daily, it remains active by offering educational activities for the youth, and working in collaboration with the committee of BDS to support the community. In the meantime, Haiti Soleil has been fundraising to cover the cost of reconstruction to restore Bibliothèque du Soleil. We are currently working with engineers in Haiti and in the United States to provide the community with a modern building that will allow Bibliothèque du Soleil to resume its daily activities and programs. For updates on the reconstruction phase, check our website periodically and join our mailing list.
There are many ways to support our relief efforts in the community of Carrefour-Feuilles and the reconstruction of Bibliothèque du Soleil during this difficult time: