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  • Writer's pictureFabienne Lerine

Next Steps for the Women's Association

Fabienne Lerine, Founder and Director of the Women’s Association of Lafon (Asosyasyon Fanm Lafon, or AFL) recently sat down for an interview with Cultural Capital Haiti’s Board Secretary and Treasurer Michael Rogers.

The following is a translation of their conversation.

Michael: Can you introduce yourself and fill us in on AFL’s progress since you started working with CCH this past year?

Fabienne: Sure. Hello, I am Fabienne Lerine. I am the founder of AFL. Since we started working with CCH, AFL has been on a new footing. We have activities for children two times per week. We also have activities for adults two times per week. For the children, we have cultural activities which we do with them. And we hold classes for them. On avoiding early pregnancy. On matters of hygiene. For women, we have a micro-credit program to support them. We lend women money to do commerce and support themselves. I truly thank CCH for their support.

Michael: How has having a building affected your work?

Fabienne: I can tell you that without the building we wouldn’t be able to do anything. Having a building means we have a space to do children’s activities. We have meetings in the space. Grown-up women also have a place to meet in this space. This center is so good for us. If a child is having trouble, they have a safe place to go. Adults too. If they are having trouble, they have a safe place to go. In times of crisis, we’ve create a place for them to come stay if they are truly in need.

Michael: How would having electricity in the building affect your work?

Fabienne: If we had electricity, it would be really good for us. Because we have activities that we do such as throwing dance parties. But we don’t have electricity for a sound system. We also need electricity because the children need to study for exams. Some of them are finishing high school. They want to do research but there is no electricity for them. If our secretary needs to type a document, it’s very difficult. All our activities need to be finished by 6 or 7pm. There is so much we want to do but being without electricity limits us.

Michael: How would AFL benefit from having regular visits from a medical team?

Fabienne: We would like for AFL to be able to bring doctors and nurses into our community to help us. Because there is a real need. Lots of children have infections. These include vaginal infections. And women are having lots of kids. And they don’t have access to birth control. If we had doctors and nurses doing regular visits to inform the women, there would be fewer pregnancies and therefore less poverty. And the women would also understand more about life. We want to empower them to not allow a boy to get them pregnant. Sexual health classes really help with that a lot. Our young women, many of them have vaginal infections. Doctors can prescribe medicine to help them get better. It’s because the water they bathe in is not clean, it causes lots of infections for women.

Michael: How would AFL benefit from being able to provide snacks for children?

Fabienne: In our experience, without food the children are less motivated. Because they leave their house hungry, when they come to do activities they’re always hungry. I would like it if CCH could make it possible for us to address this. So that when we do activities for kids we can provide a hot meal and clean water. So that when we do sports activities we can provide water and snacks. These little things would truly help because these kids are truly in need. They really need it.

Michael: Is there anything else that you would like to request?

Fabienne: Here’s what I’d like to say. We run a micro-credit program for women called “Little Step.” All these women are truly motivated to do commerce, to start businesses. I have been really surprised at how the women repay their loans so consistently. All of them want to borrow money. But it sometimes happens that the money we have saved as a group is not enough to lend to everyone. If CCH was able to find a way to inject some money into our fund, this would allow us to lend women more money, and allow more women to get involved with AFL too. Because we have found that this is a great way to integrate women into the women’s group. Right now, because of this credit, women because autonomous, they start businesses, and are no longer dependent on their husbands. They are able to provide food and send their kids to school regularly. I would truly like for CCH to help us in this way, to inject some extra money in AFL’s “Little Step” fund, so we can support more girls, so we can support more women.

Michael: Which of these requests is your highest priority?

Fabienne: I really hope that CCH will be able to ensure that we always have rent for our building every year. Because without that building our group wouldn’t exist. The children wouldn’t be there. The grown-ups wouldn’t be there. We wouldn’t have a place to meet. I hope that we will continue to find help to secure this building, which enables so many activities.

Michael: Thank you very much, Fabienne.

Fabienne: Thank you!


(Translated by Michael Rogers)


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