In the Fall of 2011, after having scraped all the money drawers and found to the identified needs the most creative alternatives, we finally launched the Foundation’s new program leadership Plaisance Avenir. We first started thinking about it in early 2007 as a natural follow-up to our universal schooling program. It took us five years to materialize this dream of offering our children a training of international standard so that they become full members of the 21st Century.
In 2001, one of the Guillaume Foundation’s first focus was how to use sports – namely soccer – to put the Plaisance du Sud community on the map. After some misadventures in the National Second Division, we gave up on the idea and went back to the board. From 2003 to 2006, we concentrated on the Doktè Lik Championship while still waiting for a better solution. That solution was given to us by Lindia Izidore, who made a tennis racket out of a piece of wood. She then started hitting balls all by herself. Without Knowing it, she had just started our “Athlètes en Herbe” (Young Athlètes) program.
Plaisance Verte (Green Plaisance) is one of the Guillaume Foundation’s first and most important program. The idea of it was already there, in 1991, six years after our President’s first immigrated to the USA in 1985. He came back to a valley that was no longer as green and beautiful as it used to be. Plaisance had lost, in just six years, over 50% of its green, and had to abandon what was the community’s biggest crop and the basis of its economy thus far: coffee beans. Something needed to be done.
The Anviwònman se Zafè Nou tout (AZN) program is based on a simple truth: we are all in this together. No one person can save the environment but if we all get together we can salvage what is left of our planet. The AZN program is thus focused on getting each and everyone to accomplish that small gesture that can ultimately make the difference if we all do it together.
The Santé + program is arguably our most direct tribute to Doktè Lik’s work in the community. The program offers affordable and quite often free healthcare to the people in the community. It is generally handled by the Centre de Santé Léopold Luc Guillaume (formerly Dispensaire de la Vallée de Plaisance when it was founded by Doktè Lik in 1957).
Everyday in Haiti, we spend 4 million dollars – that we don’t have – buying rice that we don’t produce. At the same time, perfectly good Haitian food go to waste either due to lack of access or – and this is increasingly common – disdain for the food produced locally. With Manje Lakay, the Guillaume Foundation has been, since 2007, working to help the people in Plaisance du Sud value local meat, fruit, grain and produce. We have implemented, with some success, the program’s three components with the help of the community, particularly the younger generation.
Formerly “Aider Plaisance” (Help Plaisance), the EKV – Ede Kominote nou Vanse program is a program whose primary mission is to encourage and establish self-reliance in the community’s development process. It started in 2002, while we were lobbying for Plaisance du Sud to become a commune. A voluntary taxation, it was a fund contributed to by the members of the community to help mitigate the lack of basic services in the absence of local government.
In 2004, on the 200th anniversary of Haiti’s independence, we gave ourselves a goal: universal schooling for all children in Plaisance du Sud by 2014. We partnered with 10 primary schools and gave them a subsidy , built three more and bringing the number of our schools to four and lobbied the local government for stricter applications of the law to ensure every child would get the chance to go to school. Five years later, in 2009, we could declare victory, five years in advance of our fixed term.