The beginning of APF and the story of Fondwa
Our first meeting was held on April 24, 1988, in the courtyard of St. Antoine Catholic Church of Fondwa. About 50 Haitians and non-Haitians came together to discuss the various problems affecting Fondwa and the other rural communities in Haiti. We reflected on the daily life of the local peasants and how we can help them solve their own problems using their own resources. We established a committee to identify the problems in Fondwa and how to best address them.
The community identified the largest problem as young people leaving the village because of a lack of:
- Stable roads which would enable them access other parts of the country
- Educational opportunities
- Healthcare facilities and drinkable water
- Technical assistance to the farmers in the community
- Financial support to the small entrepreneurs and small businesses
- Social services from the government
After listening to the communities needs, we decided to build a road to connect Fondwa to the other rural villages nearby.
Before 1988, there was no basic infrastructure in Fondwa. The residents had no access to roads, drinkable water, health care, education, telephone, electricity, financial services or technical assistance for agricultural activities. Although the people of Fondwa paid taxes, they received no financial or social support from the government. In response to the isolation and lack of assistance, the people of Fondwa and their neighbors took action and created a project of integrated rural development. In April 1988 the peasants — with the help of many other friends — organized themselves and founded the Peasant Association of Fondwa (APF).
After two years of hard work, APF solicited financial help from friends and organizations. We were very fortunate to receive a gift from the Foundation Richard Brisson (with the help of Michèle Pierre-Louis, the director of FOKAL) which enabled us to complete construction of the road and to purchase a piece of land. We used this land to build the Community Center of Fondwa, where we built the Clinic of Fondwa, the Radio Station (Radyo Zetwal), the office of the Credit Union of Fondwa (KÒF), the living quarters for volunteers, the residence of the Sisters of St. Anthony of Fondwa, and the Guesthouse. The first phase of construction was funded by “Association des Leoganais a Montreal” and Ceipal, and the final phase was financed with a loan from Fonkoze (Fondasyon Kole Zepòl). It took us roughly twelve years to complete the construction.
Through it all, APF functioned as a center of learning and development in the community and throughout rural Haiti. However, on January 12, 2010, APF lost everything – the Community Center and all the programs located there, the home for the orphans, the primary/secondary school, the University, the home of the Sisters of St. Anthony – in 30-40 seconds. But, in keeping with the philosophy to “always move forward with what we have” and in spite of the fact that we have not been at the “international donors table”, members of APF have worked to see that life in Fondwa continued. Thanks to our partners, the St. Antoine school was reconstructed (in temporary structures), the clinic was reopened (in a donated “clinic in a container”), many homes of the peasants were rebuilt, the sisters have a new home, and a new orphanage was built. Out of what is left of the visitor’s center, the credit union and radio station continue to function, along with other agricultural programs in the region.
DONATE TO APF
To make a tax deductible donation online click here, or you can write a check to:
Raising Haiti Foundation
Post Office Box 21624
Washington DC 20009.