The January 2010 earthquake rattled Sherley Petit-Frère's family and household to the core. The single mom of a 5-year-old, who is also providing for her mother and younger sister, lost her home in Delmas 65 and three close relative members, two cousins and an aunt. Now, two years later, through J/P HRO's Camp & Relocations Management Program, Sherley's life has come full circle.
Three months on, a new start takes root
"My house is the most beautiful in this neighborhood. I know this just by looking around me," said Sherley Valery, 11, as she sat on the ground playing with her little sister, Laura, who is now 13 months old.
About three months ago, Sherley's mother, Elaine, 35, moved the family into Kay Rose, a new, purple, hurricane- and earthquake-resistant home that was built by J/P HRO on Delmas 32. The Kay Rose is now the Valery family home. Sherley, little Laura and their mother were the first family from the Pétion-Ville Camp to have benefited from J/P HRO's modular home project.
Over the last two and a half years, I have had to ask myself more than once why I continue going back to Haiti. The answer to this question has evolved a small amount after each visit. My current answer is that I have finally experienced something undeniably good that has come out of the 2010 earthquake; and I would like to see more. This good experience that I speak of was spending 10 days with a non-governmental organization (NGO) called J/P Haiti Relief Organization (HRO), which was formed by Sean Penn and Sanela Diana Jenkins, whose foundation supported initial relief efforts in the weeks following the devastating earthquake.
After the devastating earthquake of 2010, Elene Romain was left homeless. She lived in the Petion Ville Club camp for two years with her daughter and her recently born child. Now, Elene is putting the pieces of her life back together and is starting a new beginning.
On a Friday afternoon, Medelda Saint Vil and thirty of her classmates from Ecole de l'Espoire walked in their white and blue graduation gowns to celebrate their accomplishment for the school year. After singing the Haitian National Anthem, and listening to an emotional speech of what they have achieved, one by one the students walked toward the principle to receive their certificate. Each of them worked hard and performed to the best of their ability to attain what many children in Haiti hoped for, finishing elementary school.
I was Born and raised in Haiti, I am the byproduct of my Haitian upbringing and American influence from traveling back and forth between both countries. Growing up in Haiti gave me the opportunity to learn multiple things, discover myself and appreciate the little things in life. French, English, Haitian Creole, and how to manage myself when there is no power were things I had to learn growing up here.
In an effort to restore the luster to Jacmel, the cultural capital of Haiti, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and Sean Penn, Ambassador-at-Large for Haiti and founder of J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO) are working on a project to re-house the last families made homeless in Jacmel by the 2010 earthquake.
Henri Behar has been a staple at the Cannes Film Festival, serving as the longtime news conference moderator each year. He has seen it all. But even Behar seemed surprised with Friday's news conference featuring Sean Penn, director Paul Haggis and supermodel Petra Nemcova. The news conference was not about a movie. It surrounded a Hollywood-type fundraiser for earthquake-torn Haiti, with Penn leading the way.
Sean Penn tried to turn the conversation at the Cannes Film Festival to Haiti, hosting a fundraiser for the earthquake-ravaged and poverty-stricken country. It was the first time the festival has used its glitzy, global spotlight to attract attention for a cause not connected with a movie. Penn, director Paul Haggis and model Petra Nemcova brought their individual charities together for a black-tie dinner Friday evening to benefit their organizations and renew attention to the Caribbean country. Designer Giorgio Armani co-hosted the gala.
Guests at Cannes have bid up to €200,000 ($255,656) at a Haiti fundraiser for items including a Bono-autographed guitar as the film festival’s glitzy, global spotlight turned to charity. It was the first time the French Riviera festival has attracted attention for a cause not connected with a movie. Actor Sean Penn, director Paul Haggis and model Petra Nemcova brought their individual charities together for a black-tie dinner Friday evening to benefit their organizations and renew attention to the Caribbean country. Designer Giorgio Armani co-hosted the gala.
In a world where access to health care is limited to a few, J/P HRO Medical Program recently concluded a 10 day Vaccination Campaign held at both of our clinics, JP1 and JP2, providing free vaccines to the Delmas community.
The Cannes Film Festival just announced something very unusual: they're hosting a massive all -star fundraiser for Haiti this year. The festival does not host this sort of thing, but they're doing it for Sean Penn's J/P HRO Fund and combining with Paul Haggis's Artists for Peace and Justice and Petra Nemcova's Happy Hearts.
Actor and activist Sean Penn returns to Chicago in April to receive the 2012 Peace Summit Award during the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureate, being held April 23-25 in Chicago.
Penn will be given the honor for "his work to rebuild and aid the victims of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, as well as his ongoing advocacy for peace and human rights protection worldwide," according to the committee.
The voices and laughter of children, the bright colors on the wall, and the smiling faces of volunteers are what welcomes me as I enter J/P HRO's Kay Kominote (Community House) in Delmas 48.
The space is filled with creativity from top to bottom. The presence of young Haitian artists set this place apart from all the other J/P HRO facilities. Each multi-purpose room in the repurposed single family home has its own design and theme.
In Haiti, actor Sean Penn brushed aside mockery in the media for his penchant for taking up causes. Someone, he said, had to do something after the devastating earthquake.
Now he's being recognized for his efforts. Penn will be presented with the 2012 Peace Summit Award next month during the annual meeting of Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
I remember exactly where I was on January 12th, 2010 when the 7.0 earthquake struck my childhood home of Port-au-Prince. Seeing the flicker of hope in the eyes of the survivors on TV struck my heart to the core as a Haitian-American. The Haiti I knew growing up was much deeper than the broken buildings and the poverty that was so readily broadcast on network television after the quake. My memories of Haiti were fond and full of the rich culture, the generous people, and the hidden beauty of the Caribbean island.
Oprah Travels to Haiti with Actor and Activist Sean Penn: Airing on Oprah's Next Chapter
Oprah travels to Haiti with actor and activist Sean Penn nearly two years after one of the most devastating natural disasters in history, witnessing first-hand his humanitarian work through the non-governmental organization J/P Haitian Relief Organization and discovers both heartache and hope among the Haitian people.
Today marks the two-year anniversary of the catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, a disaster that leveled the country and displaced millions. It would be easy to spend today reliving the tragedy that occurred on January 12, 2010 -- watching videos of buildings collapsing, of mothers mourning their lost children, the tears, pain, and devastation that took place.
Cars can't drive any further, people all around block the way, kids gathered in front of the community house, excited and happy; ‘‘what's happening and why is everybody look so happy?''; this is the question that lots of people living in the area were asking. From afar you have to admit that something interesting was really happening, people were gathering on their roof tops, employees from J/P HRO were wearing their J/P t-shirts and hats and were spread all around the street. Up the hill and down, on both sides, there was a huge crowd.
Just got to the office about 8:30 A.M and came across Rachel at the reception door. ‘'Eh, I am glad that you got here just in time because there's a distribution at the new community house in Delmas 32, I would like you to come if you are available''. I answered with a quick ‘'yes'' and after 15 minutes we were already at the community house where there were a lot of people sitting on benches waiting.