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Transforming Lives

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A young lawyer fights extended pre-trial detention in Haiti

October 2018 — Belène Alexandre, 31, one of the two supervisory lawyers providing legal assistance at the St. Marc Legal Aid Office, is only too aware of how easy it is for those who can’t afford a lawyer to get lost within the Haitian justice system, and she has made it her life’s work to help them reclaim their rights.

Charlisena Lubin in her wheelchair next to her mother

At first, she did not want to be the only person in a wheelchair in this small village, so she decided that once she was back home, she would stay in her room. However, after nine months of physical therapy and psychological support from the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation in Fond-des-Blancs, Charlisena's outlook began to change. She came to terms with her condition and, last year, decided to return to her hometown and resume school. 

Dr. Sophia Laine  and  a patient smiling during therapy

Six days a week, Laine provides routine care to inpatients and outpatients just like Lubin. The patients receive care twice each day, in the morning and afternoon. In addition, once a week, together with a social worker, nurse and biomedical equipment technician, she visits patients in their homes to provide additional medical, psychosocial and material support. Laine ensures patients have the basics necessary to live as normal a life as possible and provides them literature, tips and exercises.

Lucamène Chéry, a food vendor in Haiti.

Each week in southern Haiti, Lucamène Chéry puts on her uniform and stocks her market stall with local vegetables. Shoppers filter past, selecting products for their families. In exchange for the produce, Chéry accepts a unique form of payment—food vouchers—which allows the most vulnerable members of the community to access nutritious foods that they would otherwise be unable to afford.

Dieula Rosembert, a grandmother and cacao farmer in Haiti, is participating in USAID agricultural program.

Dieula Rosembert, a grandmother of five, has been selling cacao for as long as she can remember. But the middlemen in Haiti who bought her cacao paid her so little “you could not even buy a loaf of bread with the money!” she exclaimed.