June 23, 2022
“I had to grow up learning to navigate this violence without becoming a part of it, and how to manage the effects of this violence and state neglect in my everyday life.” – Louino Robillard, Program Director
Dear Roots Supporter,
We are excited to share with you the stories of three incredible staff members at our partner organization in Haiti, Rasin Devlopman: Monica St. Juste, Louino Robillard, and Lineda Paul. These three individuals are inspiring leaders whose work shapes and impacts the lives of the 85,000+ residents on the island of La Gonave. They are part of the team that uses your financial support to design and implement a dynamic, community-led program that is creating sustainable long-term change on La Gonave and setting an example for others, in and out of Haiti. Enjoy getting to know them!
Monica St. Juste was born on the island of La Gonave, where she was raised by her parents, who instilled in her a deep value of education. Growing up, she loved going to school and participated in community activities through church and clubs.
She attended the Caribbean University of Port-au-Prince, but due to financial issues, had to return to La Gonave, where she attended a technical school. She first began working for Rasin as an intern, then became a full-time employee. Included in her responsibilities is helping to teach young women on the island how to ride a motorcycle.
Monica’s favorite aspect of her work with Rasin are the projects that target women and community leaders. ”Rasin Devlopman has put together a method that not only provides training to enrich each person’s conscience, but that also sends them to identify the problems in their communities and see the best way to improve these problems.”
Louino “Robi” Robillard was born in St. Raphael, a rural community in the north of Haiti, but was raised on the edge of Port-au-Prince in a highly urban and densely populated area called Cite Soleil. Cite Soleil is heavily affected by gang and political violence.
“I had to grow up learning to navigate this violence without becoming a part of it, and how to manage the effects of this violence and state neglect in my everyday life. However, Cite Soleil also taught me that Haitians are innovative and resilient – despite the daily shadow of violence and the lack of state services, my community found ways to thrive […] My early life taught me that, no matter the challenges, Haitians will always work to find a way to build a life, build community, and build their futures.”
Robi’s primary and secondary education was often interrupted by his family’s financial needs, teacher strikes (which he supported through a student organization), and gang violence. Despite this, he earned an associate’s degree in Public Administration and a master’s in Community Change and Peacebuilding at Future Generations University, completing a thesis on the application of traditional Haitian practice of konbit (cooperative communal work) to address modern social problems.
Robi’s favorite part of his work with Rasin Devlopman (and Roots) is how the organizations are shifting the power to communities and creating a model for other organizations to follow. “Many international organizations talk about ‘working themselves out of a job’ or ’shifting the power,’ but so few actually put this into practice. […] I believe if Roots and Rasin continue on this path, we will be able to build a model for the rest of the country to learn from and, hopefully, follow.”
Lineda Paul Petit-Frere was born and raised in Aux Cayes, in the south of Haiti. Around the age of 14, she joined the Haitian Scouts organization, rising through the ranks to become communications commissioner for her district and a group leader for the community scout group.
Due to her work with the Scouts, Lineda was deeply involved in the community and was able to bring in and train younger members of the organization. In 2010, she moved to Port-au-Prince, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Development at Paodes University. She is currently getting her master’s in NGO management. Lineda worked in various roles at different NGOs in Haiti before coming to Rasin Devlopman in 2017. She enjoys planning projects and watching those projects grow and have an impact on communities.
“I am an action-oriented person. I prefer to be in the field with the leaders and families of a community, understanding the sociological and cultural influences on the community.”
The hard work of these individuals, with your continued support, is creating lasting change in Haiti and in the lives of the people of La Gonave. And other leaders just like them, with similar backgrounds and stories, are currently being being trained by Rasin Devlopman, to expand community-led development efforts on the island and improve quality of life in Haiti.
We hope you find the lives and passions of Rasin Devlopman’s staff as inspiring as we do. Please continue to support our unique and important work.
Chad W. Bissonnette