Making a Difference in Haiti, One Child At a Time

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Global Alumni Coordinator

Daniel Tillias, chairman of SAKALA and a Goldin Global Fellow in Haiti, continues to inspire hope in his neighborhood filled with talent and aspirations, but also marred by gang warfare, violent protests, unemployment and poor waste management. Daniel's work received a major boost in the wake of a visit by renowned British actress Joanna Lumley and the broadcast of her series Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti featuring a visit with Daniel, generating awareness, excitement and over $100,000 in new donations since March this year. 

SAKALA is the Community Center for Peaceful Alternatives with a mission to help children and youth access resources necessary for making a difference in their lives. Conditions in Cité Soleil, often regarded as the most impoverished and dangerous place in the western hemisphere, limit children and youth from attaining their right to education, play, food and sanitation.

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Among other challenges, prejudice and limited opportunities for youth motivated Daniel to create SAKALA over fourteen years ago. Since then, the center has worked with over 3,500 children and youth. Currently, there are 300 children and youth at the center. The center acts as a safe space for children and youth to interact with other people, play and learn new things.

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Most children go to the center every day after leaving school. Unemployment continues to be the biggest problem among youth, pushing many to criminal gangs while others are fleeing the country.

"The big issue here is unemployment, not corona, as parents have no means to send children to school and youth say 'enough is enough' and they find means to flee." -- Daniel Tillias, SAKALA

Since SAKALA's inception, the government has not invested in the welfare of youth and children at the center. "We could do more if the government had invested in what we do, I need to try hard to find full government support, it would be helpful to know that we can rely on the government for resources –because donors' support alone is not enough."

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Learn more at SAKALA's website.

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