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What Haiti Soleil has been doing to support the devastated community of Carrefour-Feuilles

Group outside of library site

Carrefour-Feuilles residents line up to receive food.

August 2010

Since the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that devastated the city of Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010, Haiti Soleil has sent thousands of dollars to support relief efforts in the community of Carrefour-Feuilles. The majority of funds have gone towards the emergency group, Bureau Doleances Sociales/Biwo Doleyans Sosyal, for interviewing and documenting the damages of over 3000 members of the community. The emergency group has also been critical in getting tents and food to those in need. A portion of the funds has also covered the cost of cleaning out the debris at Bibliothèque du Soleil and creating temporary structures to protect the library's books, equipment and other materials. Haiti Soleil Executive Director Dr. Nadège Clitandre was in Haiti during the month of March to assess post-earthquake conditions in the community of Carrefour-Feuilles in general, and damage to Bibliothèque du Soleil in particular. She had the opportunity to participate in meetings with community leaders as well as talk with the children who participated in various youth programs at Bibliothèque du Soleil. She addressed the question on everyone's mind, "Will the library come back?", and assured the community that Haiti Soleil will do everything possible to rebuild the library so it may resume its programs and activities by January 2011. Not only are we confident that we will rebuild--we are looking towards expanding. During her trip, Dr. Clitandre also visited Leogane and Jacmel to connect with communities that may be interested in developing future branches of Bibliothèque du Soleil.

Undoubtedly, Haiti has been facing unprecedented challenges in the past months. 300,00 have been killed, 1.5 million are homeless, and over 1000 temporary tent cities are now filling the land. Food, sanitiation, water shortages are still dire. While Haiti Soleil can't solve all the issues confronting the country, we remain dedicated to our mission: to build and develop comunity-centred libraries, museums, and other institutions of educational and cultural exchange focused on advancing the intellectual growth of young Haitian citizens. We believe that education and free access to information is the best way to empower a people. There is a Haitian proverb which says, " A stumble is not a fall". We have already regained our footing and are striding towards a new Haiti.


Direct Relief meeting in Haiti

DRI representatives Brett Williams and Andrew Maccalla meet with the Executive Committee of Biwo Doleyans Sosyal at Bibliothèque du Soleil in March, 2010.

It is with great pleasure we announce two generous Direct Relief International (DRI) grants awarded to Haiti Soleil. DRI has contributed $50,000 towards the rebuilding of Bibliothèque du Soleil. This substantial grant will allow Haiti Soleil to start the construction of a modern, safe, and spacious building. More than just a library, the new Bibliothèque du Soleil will also house a computer lab and a community center. The grant will also be used to develop and facilitate educational programs for Haitians of all ages. Direct Relief International has also pledged $25,000 to Bureau Doleances Sociales, the emergency group created shortly after the earthquake to provide relief in the community of Carrefour-Feuilles. These funds will assist outreach efforts to those most affected by the quake. Many residents in Carrefour Feuilles are still lacking basic needs such as adequate food, water and shelter. This charitable donation will make it possible for hundreds of people to rebuild their lives. We are proud to partner with Direct Relief International in this important work.

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Haiti Soleil has received a matching challenge grant from the Irene S. Scully Family Foundation, one of Haiti Soleil’s major sponsors. The Irene S. Scully Family Foundation will provide up to $25,000 in matching donations to help rebuild Bibliothèque du Soleil. That means the foundation will match every dollar you donate to Haiti Soleil. In honor of the one-year anniversary of the earthquake, all donations sent to Haiti Soleil until January 12th, 2011 will be matched dollar for dollar by the Irene S. Scully Family Foundation, which has funded Haiti Soleil for the past few years. The Foundation strongly believes in the organization's educational and community-based work, which is now even more vital to Carrefour-Feuilles residents in post-earthquake Port-au-Prince.

So far $9,000 in donations have been raised since the challenge was announced on June 2nd during a fundraiser at Levende, a restaurant in the heart of Downtown Oakland. Hosted by Oakland-based board member Timothy Suttle and his wife Voleine Amilcar, the fundraiser drew over 75 attendees. The event included a silent auction that was made possible by generous donations from Bay Area artists and businesses. This first fundraiser for the matching grant brought in $3,000. As Haiti Soleil prepares for the reconstruction phase of the library in the next six months, it needs to raise $16,000 to meet the grant challenge. Please show the Irene S. Scully Family Foundation that you also believe in Haiti Soleil's mission by donating now. You can also support our efforts by spreading the word and persuading others to donate during this time.


Making Waves Academy Students announce results of auction fundraiser at their school in Richmond, CA.

Chicago-based artists perform at fundraiser hosted by Alliance Française.

More than ever, Haiti Soleil board members and supporters from all over the nation have been rallying their respective communities and social networks to raise funds for the rebuilding of Bibliothèque du Soleil. Reputable organizations have also offered their resources to help this endeavor. For example, on April 30th, Alliance Française in Chicago hosted an evening of dance, songs, and stories to raise funds for Haiti Soleil. This benefit was curated by board member Celia Bambara and included performances by Haitian, American, and African artists. 50 people attended, among them, Leslie Conde, the Haitian consulate of Chicago. The youth are also coming together to support rebuilding efforts. In March, Executive Director Dr. Nadège Clitandre gave a presentation at an art auction hosted by the students of Making Waves Academy in Richmond, CA. The students auctioned their original art work and raised over $3,000 to help young people in Haiti have access to books. Dr. Clitandre was impressed not only by the art pieces, but also by their presentations on Haitian history and culture. We are grateful to our generous supporters who offer their time, energy, resources and skills to help us achieve our mission in Haiti.To organize a fundraiser in your area, please send an email to with your ideas.

WHY I GIVE: "I always longed to visit Haiti, as I wanted to know more about my heritage. I finally saw an opportunity when we were in the Dominican Republic for a small family reunion. Family living in Port-au-Prince warned us not to come to Haiti due to safety concerns. Nonetheless, since we were so close, I pleaded with my parents to see if there was any way we could visit. My parents hesitantly acquiesced to my request, and arranged a trip to a nearby border town, Tiroli. When we arrived across the border, we were eagerly greeted by a group of orphans who then held my hands, asking me what I was going to give them. At the time, I didn’t know what I could give them, or what I could give to best benefit the country. I then discovered a charity called Haiti Soleil, which promotes literacy and the arts among Haitian youth. I was thrilled to be able to help Haiti through an organization that correlates with my interests—art and literature. To support Haiti Soleil, I created Soleil Pet Portraits, a pet portrait service for which I draw pets in exchange for a donation to Haiti Soleil." Christina Martin, San Diego, California

For information on how to order a pet portrait to support the efforts of Haiti Soleil, please contact Christina Martin via email at or by regular mail at P.O. Box 203985, New Haven, CT 06520.


4th Annual Camp d’été du soleil at Bibliothèque du Soleil: From August 9 through September 9, 2010, Bibliothèque du Soleil will hosts its 4th Annual Camp d’été du soleil, a popular summer camp program that brings together about 50 kids between the ages of 5-15 for an exciting and fun-filled educational experience. Activities of the camp include field trips around the city, weekly presentations on art, literature, history, and culture, as well as instruction by local teachers and artists. This year's theme, Port-au-Prince, ma ville (Port-au-Prince, my city) was chosen a few weeks prior to the earthquake that destroyed the capital city and thus has a very special meaning to the community.

Reconstruction Phase: From August 13 to August 29, Haiti Soleil's Executive Director will be in Haiti along with faculty and students of the University of California, and members of the Santa Barbara Haiti Relief Committee, which is based at the Center for Black Studies Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The committee will meet with leaders of the Carrefour-Feuilles community, and visit local projects to learn what is needed for redevelopment. The committee includes two engineers who will meet with Haitian construction firms to discuss the next phase for rebuilding the library. Be sure to check out the next issue of our newsletter for updates on construction. We are encouraged by the level of commitment the UC system has shown and extend our thanks to the many students, faculty, and alumni who have dedicated themselves to being a part of Haiti's future. If you would like to be a part of this momentous occassion, please consider donating to our organization. It's said that libraries aren't built; rather they grow. Help us grow a library in Haiti today.

To learn more about Haiti Soleil, please visit our website at

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