Meet the Women of La Fond

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Meet Ediline, Jacqueline and Hosana. Just three of the 100 members of the La Fond Women’s Association. These women tell a history of a community that once thrived in agriculture, and whose social structures and coalitions grew from the economic success of the community. After years of decline and economic depression, women of the community came together in 2006 to create a new women’s group which has been striving to support each other and the larger La Fond community for the last 10 years.

They work together through action and service to tackle a wide range of issues from parenting and mentorship to sexual violence, to literacy, to potholes, to erosion and deforestation. They take the initiative to build rock basins and walls to stop erosion and flooding. They teach each other to read and write and mentor their daughters to protect them from sexual violence. They also reach out to partners like CCH to help them rebuild economic opportunity through agriculture.

CCH began its partnership with this exceptional group just last summer when leaders reached out to CCH about our livestock training program. Vianie Francois, president of the Women’s Association wanted to start a livestock program with CCH because she hopes to “bring independence to the people.” Goats and turkeys give her members the opportunity to generate savings to pay for the education of their children and to serve as insurance in case of an emergency. Vianie emphasizes the importance of transparency and honest in keeping her association strong.

When asked why they think their organization has been successful Hosana claimed that “unity and honesty” were the two most important qualities of the group and Edeline believes that their hope keeps them strong and active. Andrese knows that if a family cares for its goats as it should, in just 15 months the family will have 6 more goats and some of them will go back to the organization for another family. Andrese sees “hope coming” in the turkeys and goats.

All have aspirations that at least some of the extra income that families earn with their herds well be donated back to the Women’s Association to be dedicated to emergency care for those in need. Vianie says she can already see that the partnership with CCH is attracting more members to her organization. She says that CCH caught their attention because it is NOT an organization that comes in, give animals like charity, and then leaves. CCH invests in teaching the women about their animals and how to care for them. She knows that CCH is an organization that will stay in La Fond as long as needed.

UPDATE: CCH indeed values the integrity and resourcefulness of the La Fond Women’s Association, and will be working with these women to help them replace the numerous goats and several turkeys lost in Hurricane Matthew.
Story and photo by CCH Intern, Kylie Grow

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