Posted by AfroElle On 10:12 PM
After the January 2010 earthquake that struck Haiti leaving more than 200,000 people dead and rendering a million homeless, all the attention was on Haiti. A year later and there are many efforts out to help rebuild Haiti.
Every month AfroElle highlights great women led initiatives or initiatives for women, I came across the Mangoes and Lemonade; an information resource for people who want to get involved with initiatives in Haiti. I was amazed at the many organizations doing amazing work in Haiti. This led me to a conversation with Claudeen Pierre the woman behind Mangoes and Lemonade.
Introduce yourself to us
I was born in Brooklyn, raised in Long Island and my parents are from Haiti. I am a young woman on a journey to becoming the greatest person I can be. The ‘pursuit of happiness’ is my primary focus, everything I do stems from that ambition.
Why are you so passionate about Haiti and when did this passion develop?
I developed a real interest in Haiti as a teenager. Listening to my family speak about growing up in Haiti led to a curiosity; a wanting to see Haiti as others in the past had the privilege of seeing her.
Aside from my cultural connection there are many reasons that I am passionate about Haiti. For one, the earthquake left an enormous impression on me. To see a city reduced to rubble in 35 seconds is beyond humbling; I remember waking up to that and feeling like the world stood still. My prayers are with them every day.
The name ‘Mangoes and Lemonade’ is very unique, what is it’s relation to Haiti and the inspiration behind it?
I launched Mangoes and Lemonade about two months before the anniversary of the earthquake. The idea came to me one night and I just went with it. The name mainly comes from the idea of turning lemons into lemonade. In my opinion, Haiti produces the best mangoes in the world metaphorically the people of Haiti have learned to ‘ make lemonade’ out of the lemons that they have been given. What inspires me to blog about Haiti is a desire to see positive change at the forefront. To me mangoes and lemonade are symbols of prosperity that represents ‘A Brighter Future for Haiti’
What is your mission and vision for Mangoes and Lemonade?
Mangoes and Lemonade is a website that is dedicated to sharing information and resources that can help people of Haiti, while serving as a reference place for those who are interested in getting involved with relief of sorts. My vision is to continue building the site and allow it to grow into a more effective tool over time.
In your blog you highlight various organizations that are contributing to the positive movement of Haiti, can you tell us about some of them?
On the site several organizations have been featured, including Yele for the Yele Vert tree planting initiative in Gonaives, Haiti. It’s a program that I am very fond of because it addresses the environmental issue of deforestation while maintaining a connection to the people engaging local farmers.
Another organization featured is KOFAVIV (Komisyon Fanm Viktim pou Viktim) which translates to (Commission of Women Victims for Victims) I admire these women for leading an important mission, to address the issue of rape and gender based violence in Haiti.
What do you think is the role of the Haitian Diaspora in Haiti’s recovery?
I think that proactive involvement is an important role for the Diaspora to play in Haiti’s recovery. I cannot speak for everyone but that is how I approach the situation and I am very interested in understanding what others believe that role should be.
If anyone wants to get involved, how can this be possible?
There are many ways for people to get involved with the work that is being done in Haiti. As I continue to discover some of those outlets I will share them with my viewers and supporters. In terms of getting involved with M&L, I enjoy working on the site and I welcome the contribution of others who share that passion.
Find out more about Mangoes and Lemonade through their ;
Facebook Fan Page
Facebook Friend Page
Twitter Page: @MangoesLemonade
Personal Twitter: @NeoClassiCDP