May 11, 2023
“When I learned to drive, I made myself more useful, I became more independent, and now that I have my own transportation, I feel no limits.”
Marie, 28, was born and raised in Anse-a-Galets on the island of La Gonave, Haiti.
“When I was younger, I liked to spend my time with my friends, but life on the island was always precarious, devoid of leisure activities. I always dreamed of getting involved in the service of the community to contribute to its change,” said Marie.
Though she loved her home on the island and dreamed of helping to make it a better place, it lacked the academic and professional opportunities she needed. Marie left the island in 2011 to pursue her education in Port-au-Prince and eventually began her career there. However, her dream of contributing meaningfully to her home on La Gonave continued to call to her.
In 2020, Marie’s office in Port-au-Prince was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, providing her the perfect opportunity to move back home to La Gonave. She soon decided to stay and make the island her permanent home. With her friends, she started her own small business: Mache Lakay (Home Market).
“I chose to invest in La Gonave because it’s my city, it’s my home, it’s where I come from. La Gonave made me the person I am today, so investing here is a testimony to my greatest gratitude,” said Marie.
On La Gonave, the roads are mostly dirt and are often torn and rough. Because of this, travel across the island is difficult and is mostly done on motorcycle. Women on the island are rarely taught to drive, and Marie was no different. Her inability to travel across the island hindered her business’s growth, as transportation costs are very high
“I found that it was necessary for me to learn to drive, because when I needed to do business elsewhere on the island, I always had to find someone to accompany me,” usually a man, said Marie.
Women on La Gonave are a vital part of the island’s largely informal economy. However, despite their essential contributions to their households, their communities, and the economy, women are often marginalized, and their opportunities limited. This reality is one of the reasons why Rasin Devlopman created Fanm k ap Kondwi, courses that not only teach women to drive motorcycles, but also encourage their involvement in their communities and seek to boost self-esteem and confidence.
“I joined the program because I wanted to drive a motorcycle, and knowing how to drive could help me move around easily. By taking the courses, I became aware of another reality,” Marie continued.
Marie became one of the best students in the class—a leader and a role model to the other women.
“I realized that so many things are attributed to men, you would think that only they can achieve them. That is not true, I can be useful to myself and to others,” says Marie.
Now, Marie is able to travel across the island whenever she likes, elevating the success of her business and her personal freedom. As she drives across the island, she sees young girls watching her with admiration, and she is proud to serve as a role model to them.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday! Make a donation to Roots of Development as a Mother’s Day present, and we’ll send you a digital copy of Marie’s story to share with the mothers in your life! You can support women like Marie as they become Haiti’s future leaders and give your mom the perfect gift at https://rootsofdevelopment.org/donate
Roots of Development is hosting a Celebration of Haitian Heritage & Culture in Washington, DC, on June 11th. This event will be fun and festive, with adult tickets starting at just $25! Join us at Dacha Navy Yard for Haitian food, live music, trivia, and so much more!
Spring to Action: We reached our goal!
Thanks to your generous donations, we reached and EXCEEDED our goal to drill the well for the La Gonave Community Leadership & Development Center!
We can now hire the drilling truck to drill, install the pump, and provide the center with a source of water. After that, we can break ground and begin construction!
Luc’s team won 1st place after a very tough competition, and their donations will be MATCHED thanks to a generous gift from Mark and Jaime Summers, pushing our total over $40,000! Thank you so much to all of our team leads who helped make this campaign a success!