This year, our theme has been "demen se pou fanm," tomorrow is for women, or the future is female. Our focus has been to uplift and encourage the women in our program by helping them understand and accept their strength and beauty and help them realize their potential.
Today is International Women's Day, one of my favorite days of the year. The significance of this day is absolutely beautiful as we honor and recognize women around the world who are working to make a difference and stand up against gender inequality, gender based violence, and promote education and equality for women and girls worldwide.
Jasper House Haiti would not be who and what we are today without the incredible women on our staff. These individuals have made countless sacrifices and devoted their lives over the past two years to see women freed from trauma and oppression. They set amazing examples and lead with love, grace and diligence.
On this International Women's Day, we want to take a minute to honor a few of these outstanding women who make the work of Jasper House Haiti possible.
Joslyene is from the mountainous village of Cap Rouge, which finds itself high above Jacmel, overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea.
Joslyene only made it through the second grade before being taken out of school to help with family needs and tend to the gardens and farms. She never imagined she would one day be working for an actual organization. Today, Joslyene is our head cook and provides guidance and wisdom for our gardening projects. Her laugh is contagious and she always keeps us smiling.
Manmi Isannette has a smiled so radiant, it lights up the room. She exudes love and light everywhere she goes. She has two grown daughters, but never married. She dealt with negative relationships and truly suffered until joining her brother and sister in law in Jacmel.
Today she is our lead house mother and does an extraordinary job of leading and guiding in developing deeper relationships with Christ.
Manmi Nadine stayed in an abusive relationship for nearly twenty-years. Having to deal with emotional and physical abuse, while simultaneously raising four children. Finally, after years of misery, her two oldest sons helped her to leave Port-au-Prince, and start a new life in Jacmel.
Manmi Nadine is in charge of all of our house functions from cooking to cleaning, to keeping our women in line. She is a wonderful example of a fanm djanm (strong woman) who truly embodies what it means to overcome.
Darline is the potomitan of Jasper House Haiti, the cornerstone, if you will. She is the foundation of our work, and the force that continues to champion us forward.
Darline grew up without a father, raised by a mother who was never had the opportunity to be educated. She sold charcoal and worked in the market to Darline the chances she never had. Darline went on to finish school, and become the first woman in her family to graduate at the university level.
She passionately pursued education as her career, all the while holding on to her dream that she would one day educate and change women's lives.
Today, Darline is the assistant director of Jasper House. She says that in her wildest dreams, she never imagined this great dream of hers to lead and educate women would truly come true!
These women are just a few of the dynamic, and remarkable people who are truly rising and empowering young women out of poverty, exploitation and abuse. Because of them, there is a real chance now that slowly, the mentalities toward women and sexual abuse can begin to shift and women can rise up as leaders. It is because of them that now, there's hope that tomorrow may truly be for women.