In February, 185 young people graduated from a 10-month vocational training program in Cite Soleil, Haiti. A joint project of PADF and MINUSTAH, the program provides a way into the labor market for at-risk youth and women in vulnerable situations.
The 2015 theme for the United Nations’ World Day of Social Justice is ending human trafficking and forced labour. In partnership with the government of Mexico, several corporations and NGOs, PADF designed an innovative communications campaign aimed at eradicating child labor. We worked to engage the public to find solutions to the problem, and encouraged them to take action.
Today, PADF Executive Director John Sanbrailo and representatives from dozens of civil society groups met with the candidate for Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS). Luis Almagro, candidate and Minister of Foreign Relations of Uruguay, talked about his campaign proposals, in a dialogue that took place at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
PADF works with Feed My Starving Children and other nonprofits to send donations of fortified rice to countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Donations from our successful In-Kind program reached 1.4 million people in 2014. We sent goods valued at $5.6 million to the region including medical equipment, tools and computers.
As part of the "Believe in Tolerance" initiative with the U.S. State Department, PADF partnered with MTV Latin America’s “Agents of Change” (Agentes de Cambio) campaign to hold a regional contest. Religious communities and individuals across Latin America were asked to submit ideas for an initiative that would foster religious tolerance. The winner is Pantokrator, a unique “heavy metal rock” church in Bogota, Colombia. The church hosted a unity concert on February 8, 2015 in celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The Kari Yu! program is designed to provide life skills, vocational training and job placement opportunities for youth who are at risk of dropping out of school or those who have already been in conflict with the law. Youth between the ages of 15-24 are eligible to participate in the program. The program also aims to strengthen Suriname’s juvenile justice system and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The factory floor of Le Jourdain Atelier located in the city of Cap-Haïtian in Haiti’s northern coast was the perfect setting to host a high-level delegation from Haiti and the U.S. to showcase the impact that a small and medium business investment project funded by USAID and implemented by PADF
Partnerships are invaluable to development. In fact, in Belize they are at the center of a new initiative that will help at-risk youth from marginal areas have a chance to learn new job skills and train to become small business entrepreneurs.
When growing up in Brazil, I enjoyed tossing small stones into a pond near my grandparents’ backyard. At times the stones would strike a rock, scare a fish, or cause a big splash. However, what I loved most of all was seeing the ripples move outward from the point where the stones entered the water.
The merchants of Simmonds-Pelé, a neighborhood located in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, are beginning the year with a new market where they can sell their goods. It’s an exciting moment, because for many it is the first time in more than 15 years that they can feel good about the place where they do business.
Think for a moment about this number: 21 million people around the world are victims of forced labor. They are often coerced and later trapped in jobs from which they cannot escape. Of that number, more than 1.8 million are in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Human displacement remains a continued challenge around the world. According to UNHCR Global Trends 2012 report, an estimated 35.8 million people were displaced last year, of whom approximately half—some 17.7 million people—were forced to move within their own countries.
This year’s Interaction Forum in Washington D.C., included a significant number of workshops and conversations on disaster mitigation and risk reduction. I attended one that I really knew very little about, entitled Serious Fun: Promoting Disaster Risk Reduction through Participatory Games. How can talking about disaster risk reduction be fun? I wondered.
It took me a while to even get the word right, and even harder was when I had to say it in Portuguese: Meliponicultura. The management of stingless bees or meliponiculture is a literally sweet and less risky business than the more known beekeeping of African bees (with stings).
Last week, the In-Kind Donations program team allowed me to be part of one of its regular working days. An early start took us to the soon to be demolished Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. to finish a long journey that this PADF team began last summer.
Last February 5, I participated as the opening keynote speaker at the Inter-American Defense College (IADC) Seminar on Large Scale Disasters and Complex Emergencies. The seminar was held at Fort McNair Washington, DC and examined the various phases of disaster management
Our work with the Government of Colombia continues to grow and expand. Yesterday, PADF signed a new agreement at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C. that will help us support even further Colombia’s priority to prevent at-risk children and youth from being recruited by illegal armed groups.
I remember the conversation with my colleagues about looking for someone to be PADF’s Ambassador for children’s rights, and I remember suggesting to them Jimmy Jean-Louis, a fellow Haitian who had gained popularity on a television show I had been following, named “Heroes”.
For the first time ever, the Haitian government is able to properly supervise the border at the Belladere-Elias Pina border crossing. Up until 2009, the Haitian police, migration, and customs were in offices 2km from the border. They had no means of supervising the border or of controlling what entered the country.
Two years after awarding Amarylis Castillo the title of Hero of the Hemisphere, she has continued her fight to raise living standards of the poor farmers in the Dominican-Haitian borderlands. PADF met Amarylis at the site of her newly completed avocado processing facility.