Sister Jeanette Pierre-Louis
La Savane, Haiti
"I will go wherever I am needed…"
In Haiti, fifty-four percent of people live in abject poverty. In La Savane, a Haitian slum, the number is seventy percent.
La Savane sits on the Caribbean. But there are no condos here, nor high-rises. Nor jobs. What work can be found is piecemeal, day-to-day. In Haiti, two-thirds of the people live this way; in La Savane, almost everyone does.
On top of this, the median age is 22. The burdens that are borne, are borne most by children. In La Savane, you see them patting their stomachs. It is what children do, unconsciously, when they are half-starved.
Sister Jeanette works in La Savane. She directs the Notre Dame Family Education Center, which provides literacy classes, math classes, and a community garden. It sponsors microenterprises, such as wreath-making for funerals, and the sewing of school uniforms.
We are opening a bakery. It will employ twelve people at the beginning, who in turn will support twelve families. Later more people will be hired. The goals of the bakery are four-fold:
- To address hunger
- To create long-term jobs
- To provide job training
- To prove that small business can work in La Savane