THE HAITIAN LEAGUE [THL] "Lakou to the Rescue"
Establish Network of Lakou Centers Migrants, Families, Sports, Education, Create Services and Training Job Training, Placement, Employment Employ Modular Approach Arts,Health, Housing, Wealth,Leadership LAKOU-USA IN BRIEF: Skills/Services Tasks The Haitian League
THE PROBLEMS • Because of language barriers, prejudice, and other factors, more than two million Haitians and Haitian Americans in the U.S. have difficulty in: • assimilation, • job training, • employment, • health disparity, • living in poverty, < $12,000/year per capita • marginalization • lack of government representation.
THE STATISTICS According a 2004 report commissioned by The Haitian League, based on U.S. Census data, more than two million Haitians and Haitian Americans live in the United States; an additional 20,000+ either live or work in Haiti.
MAIN HAITIAN COMMUNITY ENCLAVES IN THE U.S. New York 800,000+ Florida 700,000+ New Jersey 150,000+ Massachusetts 100,000+ Illinois 100,000+ Connecticut 50,000+ Pennsylvania 30,000+ D.C Metro Area 30,000+ Georgia 50,000+ Small pockets in other states.
PROPOSED SOLUTION A range of conventional and innovative programs: Migrants Families Education Job Training Placement Employment Health Arts Entertainment Recreation Communities Leadership for individuals, families and neighborhoods are envisioned, with priorities determined by periodic assessments performed by local chapters or affiliates.
THE LAKOU TRADITION • The original power of the Haitian social system was the great interconnection of mutual responsibility among the members of extended families and villages, communities -- Lakou -- of around 500 members each. • Significantly, Lakou in Haiti were the creation of free people living cooperatively on their own properties, rather than as slaves living on someone else’s plantations.
The term lakou continues to designate place names and describe a variety of activities that are distinctively Haitian. Today, “lakou” is even a unifying element for architects of a disaster relief housing project whose prospectus states, "House design centers around the lakou or yard which is the center of Haitian family activities.”* *Source: Laroche. Relocating a village in the south of Haiti threatened by flooding, Pwoje Fondasyon Laroche, Organization for the Rehabilitation of the Environment (ORE) and AIEC, 2003.
PROJECT OBJECTIVES Establish lakou centers, at least 1 per 100,000 population, in large enclaves of Haitians and Haitian Americans. Recruit professional designers and architects, preferably Haitian, for the concepts and construction, management of each basic lakou installation and specialized modules. Create education and training programs, on a modular basis, in the following topic areas:
In areas of Haitian in‑migration, lakou centers will offer comprehensive welcome services to settle and acclimatize newcomers in an efficient and affordable manner: Immigrants’ welcoming, orientation, and advocacy, Citizenship and civic education Liaison between government agencies and other interested parties, Translation and interpreters’ services. MIGRANTS’ SERVICE CENTER
FAMLY SERVICE CENTER • Crisis Hotline, • After-school program for teens-at-risk, • All-purpose family entertainment center, • Childcare center, • Emergency assistance and disaster relief, • Domestic violence prevention/intervention, • Funeral assistance
EDUCATION SERVICES • In areas of high truancy or dropout rates, the centers will recruit tutors to help students re‑enter school and pursue high school, college or trade schoolgraduation. • General Education Development (GED), • College preparation and facilitation, • Tutoring for children and adults, • Technology Center
JOB TRAINING AND PLACEMENT • In areas of job scarcity, the centers will work to develop job training, job creation, job banks, employment and self-employment. • Employment preparations, • Mentoring, • Job readiness, • Accessto effective training
JOB CREATION Prepare business portfolios, arrange grants and loans for graduates to establish their own businesses under the guidance of The Haitian League’s Lakou staff, Create sustained employment with multiplier effects, e.g. additional jobs, urban renewal and community pride.
TECHNOLOGY MODULE Each Lakou center will offer courses on broad subjects of technology and technology applications, plus practical exercises to discover, select and combine high-technologies with indigenous and traditional technologies. Technology institutes at Lakou centers will provide unskilled workers with a proficiency and experience in applied technology.
COMMUNITY & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT • Counseling on business ventures, • Setting up a business, • Related government regulations, • Tax implications, • Business plans and proposals, • Access to capital
GUIDANCE • Students will become proficient in each skill they choose and, at the same time, The Haitian League will work with the students to search for employment in these or other fields, or help them secure loans for starting their own businesses.
COMMUNIY AND PUBLIC SERVICES • In the public service realm, the Lakou centers will offer nonpartisan programs that: • Encourage volunteerism & public services • . Promote good management of human and economic resources, and • Teach respect for human rights, economic and environmental justice.
LEADERSHIP SERVICES • Community leadership training, • Government representation
ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT & RECREATION • Full-service audio-visual production studio, • Individual and team sports, • Periodic tournaments and concerts, • Annual Haitian-AmericanOlympics and parades
HOME OWNERSHIP • Family and individual technical assistance in: • Rental housing, • Home ownership financing, • Housing rehabilitation, • Housing availability and costs • Market trends • Savings, equity and wealth accumulation
LAKOU CENTERS -- DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATION • At minimum, every new Lakou center shall fairly quickly offer modules or programs in: • Immigrants integration and social services, • Professional career education and training • Youth recreation and sport center • Health, hygiene and substance abuse assistance and prevention, • Technology Research and Development.
GROUND RULES The centers are intended as teaching and training resources, non-denominational and open to all -- especially the Haitian and Haitian American community -- with the explicit purpose of linking similar efforts nationwide .
GROUND RULES For these and other activities, The Haitian League will draw upon the talents of successful teachers and other professionals to serve on advisory boards, to recruit volunteers and paid staff, to design communications and public relations systems and, in general, to promote pride and the spirit of optimism and cooperation within Haitian communities.
PROGRAM GOALS The centers are intended as teaching and training resources with the explicit purpose of linking similar efforts in enclaves of Haitians Diaspora Specialized instruction in traditional and modern Lakou design, operation, maintenance, and application to job training, community education, cooperative enterprise, housing, Business development and other critical subjects. The staff will also be available to neighboring communities in sudden crises or community development opportunities as occasions arise.
FUNDING SOURCES The Haitian League will pursue government, foundation and private sector contributions and try to match the amounts received with in-kind contributions of materials and labor.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN An 11+ member Board of Directors will be responsible for the operation and success of the Lakou-USA project. The Board will hire an experienced comptroller and executive director who, with approval of the Board, will hire an associate director, teachers and supervisors for Lakou and their modules.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN… The Board will have broad powers over the Lakou project and will meet monthly to monitor and evaluate the success of the program and discuss and decide changes in policy and implementation. The Haitian League will seek the input of the Lakou communities through the formation of local advisory groups. All meetings will be conducted according to “Robert’s Rules” and recorded for everyone’s reference and action.
ESTIMATED PROJECT COSTS Building from scratch and including land acquisition, the initial cost of each core module and each additional education and training module will be approx. US$500,000. Beginning from an existing set of buildings, the cost may be reduced by 30-50%. Excluding students’ stipends, the annual operating cost per module is estimated at US$300,000-400,000 and US$200,000-300,000 for retrofitting.
PROJECT EVALUATION • Under the supervision of board of directors, evaluation of the project will be ongoing and reports are to be submitted on a weekly basis to the Executive Director, who will then report to the Board. • This carefully-crafted approach was designed to link success to job creation program for maximum results. • The goal-oriented team pledges to carry this project to completion, and any further expansion with the same decorum.
THE HAITIAN LEAGUE [THL] Founded in 2003, The Haitian League (THL), is a 501-C3 nonprofit community-based grassroots movement that calls on all persons of Haitian heritage living in the U.S. and abroad to ensure full and active integration in the society while maintaining their cultural ties and identity with Haiti. The Haitian League seeks to create a movement, which is relevant to life in the United States and other adopted countries, while assisting the motherland to outgrow underdevelopment. The Haitian League devotes its human and material resources to help Haitians in and out of Haiti enter the economic and social mainstream, fully exercise their civic duties to attain deserving recognition as offspring of those who fought and died for the independence of the United States of America.
THL’S MISSION STATEMENT • The mission of The Haitian League is to establish a network to empower Haitian-Americans, and other Haitians living abroad to achieve economic self-reliance, civil rights, and health parity, while assuming their civic responsibilities.
THL’S STRATEGIES • Coalesce and reinforce interested Haitian organizations and groups whose goals and solutions are similar to THL. • Help create a Haitian-American identity among the youths and newcomers; guide Haitians to become patriotic, civic-minded, community-oriented citizens who are committed to democratic principles. • Serve as a resource and consultant for activities concerning the needs to defend civil rights, to provide job training, job placement, healthhomeownership, and wealth parities. • Promote, maintain and preserve Haitian culture.
Cooperative network of organizations Establish local chapters Set a common agenda for progress Establish community centers Identify resources Educate the public on Haitian affairs THL’S PLAN OF ACTION THL
SOME RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS • Commissioned a statistical study of Haitian and Haitian Americans in U.S. and Haiti. • Attended White House briefings and petitioned the Presidential Commission of the African American Museum for a Pavilion at the Smithsonian Institute to display Haitians’ contribution to America. • Brought $950,000 of emergency medicines to Haiti for Hurricane Jeanne victims. • Opened Lakou-Irvington, NJ center, April 28, 2006 • Supports the Savannah Revolutionary War Monument, a project of the Haitian American Historical Society
THE HAITIAN LEAGUE CONCEPT With your support and assistance, we will provide the tools to establish successful relations between Haitians across the United States, and other adopted countries and Haiti for effective, strong and healthy communities.
THL’s Dr. Lauredan (center) discussing Haitian American and Haiti issues with President G.W. Bush at White House reception
Dr Lauredan interviewing Batei Family in Iguey, Dominican Republic
THL advisor Stuart Leiderman with board members during NE Regional Haiti Conference, New Jersey
Distinguished guests at THL’s 2005 NE Regional Haiti Conference -- THL’s Weiner Rouzeau, City National Bank Chairman Louis Prezeau, Haiti PM Rep Jean RobertJean Noël, and Prof. Paul Latortue