Royal Caribbean and PADF Restore Bahamas Clinic Damaged by Hurricane

Crooked Island Receives New Medical Equipment

Nassau, Bahamas (July 21, 2016) — The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) received a donation from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to support the rehabilitation of a community clinic in Crooked Island, Bahamas, that sustained severe damage in October 2015 due to Hurricane Joaquin.

"We are pleased to partner with Royal Caribbean to deliver vital medical supplies to one of the most secluded islands in the Bahamas,” says Liza Mantilla, PADF's director of disaster management. “This clinic is a lifeline to the community. Thanks to this new equipment, it will be able to operate and continue providing care for local residents.”

With funding from Royal Caribbean, PADF procured the most urgently-needed medical equipment to facilitate the reopening of the clinic, which serves the remote island’s 330 residents. The clinic will now have a new examination table, vital signs monitor, defibrillator, centrifuge, electrocardiogram machine and a wheelchair, to help resume its day-to-day operations. In January 2016, Royal Caribbean and PADF donated 15 portable household generators to hurricane-affected families in Crooked Island.

"On behalf of The Bahamas government, the Ministry of Health and NEMA we are truly pleased with the partnership that has developed within the past year between PADF and NEMA in assisting with our Joaquin relief and assistance program," said Captain Steven Russell, Director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). "Both the donation of the generators which were delivered to needy persons on affected islands and now the assortment of medical equipment for the clinics in Crooked Island is indeed greatly appreciated and will continue to go a long way in bringing relief, restoration and support to the island of Crooked Island."

The donation was made possible through coordination with the Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency, the Ministry of Health and the Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in Washington, D.C.

Since 2007, Royal Caribbean has donated more than $2 million to PADF to fund disaster management, community strengthening and sustainable livelihoods in the region. Oversight for Royal Caribbean’s corporate social responsibility program has been provided by PADF in 25 countries, focusing on timely response to and recovery from natural disasters and enhancing the prosperity and resilience of communities.

Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 storm, hit The Bahamas in October 2015.  Storm surges and heavy rainfall caused extensive flooding in the southern Long, Acklins, and Crooked Island, severely damaging housing, roads, medical clinics, communications systems, coastal ecosystems, and water and sanitation infrastructure. Initial estimates place the damage incurred by Hurricane Joaquin to be well over USD $60 million. 

About Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 46-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line sails 24 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, South America, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand.

About PADF
PADF operates throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to generate economic opportunities, advance social progress, strengthen civil society, and prepare for and respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2015, the Foundation reached more than 17 million people in 22 countries.

Maite Perroni se une a PADF Para Erradicar el Trabajo Infantil en Las Americas y el Caribe

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Se preparan para lanzar una campaña global dirigida a concientizar a la juventud y familias sobre el trabajo infantil

Washington, DC (20 de julio de 2016) — La Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo (PADF, por sus siglas en inglés), el brazo humanitario de la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA), une fuerzas con la actriz y cantante mexicana Maite Perroni para luchar contra el trabajo infantil a nivel global.   Cerca de 168 millones de niños y jóvenes entre los 5-17 años de edad se ven afectados por la explotación laboral, y la mayoría de ellos no terminan la escuela secundaria.

El trabajo infantil no resuelve los problemas de pobreza, ni las carencias familiares.  Sólo vulnera los derechos de las nuestros niños a la educación, la salud, al juego y al sano desarrollo. A través de esta iniciativa, PADF busca unir los esfuerzos de los gobiernos, el sector privado y sociedad civil, para crear conciencia en las comunidades, particularmente entre los jóvenes, para que se integren y se conviertan en agentes de cambio.

“La educación es un derecho fundamental que permite el desarrollo no solo de todos nosotros como individuos, sino también de nuestra sociedad en general. Mi sueño es que todos los niños latinoamericanos permanezcan en la escuela para recibir educación, y así puedan contribuira un mejor futuro para ellos, sus familias y para la sociedad.  Niños y jóvenes educados resultan en una sociedad más capacitada para el progreso económico y social del país”, señaló Maite Perroni. “Los niños y jóvenes merecen la oportunidad de tener un futuro saludable y esperanzador,” dijo Perroni. 

El objetivo de la campaña, que primero partirá en América Latina y el Caribe donde más de 5,7 millones de niños aún están bajo condiciones de trabajo infantil, es concientizar a todos aquellos que forman parte del entorno social de los niños y adolecentes para que estos tengan acceso integral y completo a la educación con el propósito de aumentar sus oportunidades a futuro, reducir la pobreza, y mejorar las condiciones de bienestar para todas las comunidades. La campaña será lanzada a principios de octubre, durante una conferencia de prensa ya través del sitio web y plataformas sociales de Maite Perroni.  Adicionalmente, los spots de TV serán transmitidos por canales de televisión, redes sociales y estaciones radiales en Español, Ingles, Portugués y Francés.

“Esta es una oportunidad para solicitar el apoyo de todos, y en particular el de los jóvenes ya que ellos tienen una voz poderosa y viral que puede ayudar a tener un gran impacto. Esperamos que a través de esta nueva iniciativa en alianza con Maite Perroni podamos seguir educando e influyendo en el cambio de percepción en los países,” señaló Hearly Mayr, Director de Comunicaciones de PADF.  “Desde antes de los inicios de su carrera artística Maite ha sido reconocida como ejemplo deexcelencia y logros.  Ella ha superado muchos obstáculos para alcanzar un gran éxito, y siempre sirviendo como figura y fuente de inspiración, lo cual la convierte en la embajadora ideal para esta campaña”, dijo Mayr.

PADF tiene una larga trayectoria de cooperación en el tema del Trabajo Infantil. En 2013 trabajó con el gobierno mexicano, socios del sector privado y de la sociedad civil, para lanzar la campaña “México Sin Trabajo Infantil”, la cual contribuyó a que el número de niños en situación de trabajo infantil en México se redujera por más de 500,000 y ganó el premio “Global Awareness Award”, en el Festival Mundial de Medios (World Media Festival) en Alemania.

Socios corporativos y otras figuras publicas interesados en unirse a esta campaña y para más información, comuníquese con María-Esmeralda Paguaga, Gerente General de la Oficina de Innovación & Estrategia, PADF,  mepaguaga@padf.org

Contacto de prensa:
Emily Haile, Oficina de Comunicaciones, PADF

+1(202) 458-6410 |  ehaile@padf.org

 

 

 

Maite Perroni Joins PADF to Fight Child Labor in Latin America and Caribbean

Leer en Español

Upcoming global campaign to raise awareness among youth and families about child labor

Washington, D.C. (July 20, 2016) The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), the humanitarian arm of the Organization of American States (OAS), is joining forces with Mexican actress and singer Maite Perroni to combat child trafficking globally. More than 168 million children and youth between the ages of 5-17 years of age are affected by labor exploitation, and most do not complete secondary education.

Child labor does not solve the problems of poverty or meet the financial needs of families. Instead it violates the rights of children to have access to education, health, leisure activities, and to a healthy development. Through this initiative, PADF seeks to unite the efforts of governments, the private sector and civil society to create awareness in communities, particularly among young people so they can join and become agents of change.

“Education is a fundamental right that allows the development of all of us not only as individuals but also as a society in general,” said Maite Perroni.  “My dream is that all children in Latin America and the Caribbean will have access to education, so that they can ensure a better future for themselves, their families and society. Children who have an education help their countries achieve economic and social progress. All youth deserve the opportunity to have a healthy and hopeful future,” Perroni said.

The aim of the campaign, which will start first in Latin America and the Caribbean, where more than 5.7 million children are still under conditions of child labor, is to raise awareness among those that make up the social environment of children and adolescents to encourage them to provide integral access to education in order to foster better future opportunities, reduce poverty, and improve welfare conditions for all communities. The campaign will launch in early October, during a press conference and through Maite Perroni’s web and social media platform. In addition, public service announcements (PSAs) will be broadcast via television, social media networks and radio stations in Spanish, English, Portuguese and French.

“This is an opportunity to raise awareness especially among young people whose powerful and viral voices can carry this message and have a big impact around the world. Through this new initiative in partnership with Maite Perroni we will educate and change public perceptions,” said Hearly Mayr, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at PADF. “Even before her professional career started, Maite has been recognized as an example of excellence and achievement. She has overcome many challenges to achieve great success, always serving as a role model and source of inspiration for youth. She’s the ideal ambassador for this campaign,” added Mayr. 

PADF has a long history of working on the issue of child labor. Most recently in 2013, PADF partnered with the Mexican government, private sector partners and civil society organizations to launch the “Mexico Without Child Labor” campaign, an initiative which contributed to the reduction of child labor cases in Mexico by more than 500,000 and won the "Global Awareness Award" at the World Media Festival in Germany.

Corporate sponsors and public figures interested to join this campaign and for more information, contact Maria-Esmeralda Paguaga, Office of Innovation & Strategy at PADF (mepaguaga@padf.org).

Press contact:
Emily Haile, Office of Communications, PADF
+1(202) 458-6410 |  ehaile@padf.org

PADF & Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort Team Up for Mangrove Reforestation

 

Hopkins Village, Belize (July 14, 2016) – The Pan American Development Foundation and Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort collaborated to plant mangrove seedlings in Southern Belize in an effort to reduce coastal erosion. In partnership with Christ the King Anglican School in Dangriga and Holy Family R.C. School in Hopkins, they completed two replanting activities in late June 2016.
 
Increased tourism activity and residential development are threatening Belize’s vital ecosystems, such as mangroves, which serve as natural barriers from storm surges and mitigate the impact of floods. The program hosted a two-day workshop on types of mangroves, principles of ecological restoration, reforestation case studies, reforestation methods and climate change adaptation engaging volunteers from both communities. The group of volunteers planted mangrove seedlings in two locations near each school.
 
“Sadly, each day our world becomes a little less green,” says Kirsty Roberts, general manager at Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort.  “Here at the resort, we are taking steps to minimize our negative impact on our environment while increasing awareness and appreciation for nature. We’re pleased to partner with PADF to promote conservation and education in Belize.”
 
Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort was named Belize’s first-ever Green Globe Certified beachfront property in 2010. Ten acres of the resort has been set aside as a nature preserve. Today, Hamanasi continues to be a pioneer in sustainable development by encouraging employees and visitors to support responsible tourism practices. PADF shares Hamanasi’s goals of conservation, environmental stewardship and sustainable community development.
 
This ecological restoration project builds on the Community Preparedness and Resilience Project, funded by the Government of Taiwan and implemented by PADF. This community-based project works to prepare and protect vulnerable populations in southern Belize from extreme weather and the effects of climate change.
 
“Beyond the environmental benefits, this project is also about gaining community engagement in support of coastal barriers in a manner that is sustainable and cost effective,” says Minerva Pinelo, PADF Project Director in Belize. “Beach volunteer groups, teachers, students and other community members are becoming environmental stewards. We believe that after the training and planting event, they will continue to look for ways to replicate PADF’s initiative and protect the environment by becoming agents of change within their communities.”
 
About Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort
Hamanasi believes in responsible, natural and cultural based eco-tourism. We understand the importance of preserving our environment and indigenous communities. Hamanasi is committed to protecting our ecosystems and their biodiversity by taking continual steps to being more environmentally friendly and aware. We actively encourage all employees and visitors to participate in these endeavors. Together we can make a difference!
 

Maite Perroni Joins Anti Child Labor Campaign

Mexican actress Maite Perroni spoke with People En Español live from the Biltmore
Hotel in Miami today about her commitment to PADF's campaign against child labor.

Le Nouvelliste | Tapis Rouge Pour Quatre Entrepreneurs Haïtiens

Le Nouvelliste

Tapis rouge pour quatre entrepreneurs haïtiens à l'ambassade américaine

L’ambassadeur Peter Mulrean a célébré en grande pompe, le jeudi 7 juillet 2016, le retour en Haïti de quatre entrepreneurs haïtiens à la suite de leur participation au Sommet mondial sur l’entrepreneuriat (Global Entrepreneurship Summit), plus connu sous le nom de GES 2016, et organisé par le président Obama à l'Université de Stanford, du 22 au 24 juin 2016.

Accueillis en véritables héros par l’ambassade américaine à Port-au-Prince, les quatre participants haïtiens ont fait le point sur leur expérience à ce sommet auquel plus de 700 entrepreneurs de 170 pays et plus de 300 investisseurs ont pris part. Kalinda Magloire, de SWITCH, S.A., Myrtha Vilbon, de Glory Industries, Elan Moncher, Action et Coopération en Développement (ACOD) et Diderot Musset, de SURTAB, ont tous témoigné leur reconnaissance envers les officiels américains. « Nous sommes tous très fiers d’avoir été sélectionnés et d’avoir pu assister à cet événement de grande envergure. Nous sommes très reconnaissants envers l’ambassade américaine, l’USAID et le projet LEAD d’abord de nous avoir informés de cette opportunité, ensuite pour tout l’encadrement qu’ils nous ont fourni », a déclaré Kalinda Magloire qui s’exprimait au nom de ses collègues.

Les quatre entreprises ont reçu des investissements du projet dénommé «Application effective et optimisation des investissements directs/ Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) », une initiative financée par l'Agence américaine pour le développement international (USAID), et mis en oeuvre par la Fondation panaméricaine de développement (PADF), qui prend en charge les petites et moyennes entreprises en Haïti.

Nadia Cherrouk, directrice de la Fondation panaméricaine de développement (PADF), et aussi directrice du programme LEAD, n’a pas tari d’éloges sur les quatre entrepreneurs haïtiens qui, selon elle, ont mérité amplement leur participation à ce sommet mondial. « Nous avons été très fiers d’avoir quatre entreprises haïtiennes appuyées par l’USAID et le programme LEAD qui ont
été sélectionnées pour faire cette représentation impressionnante », atelle déclaré.

Sélectionnés parmi 5 000 candidats à travers le monde, les quatre entrepreneurs haïtiens, comme ils l’attestent euxmêmes, ont eu l’opportunité de faire beaucoup de networking et ont pu ainsi échanger avec les CEO de Facebook, de Google, de LinkedIn, entre autres.

« Une des choses dont il a été beaucoup question lors de ce sommet, c’est la nécessité de dépasser l’apparente contradiction entre la recherche de profit et l’impact social », rapporte Kalinda Magloire, de SWITCH S.A., qui commercialise des fours à gaz propane à travers la diaspora haïtienne grâce aux envois de fonds.

Ces quatre ambassadeurs d’Haïti ont ainsi saisi avec panache l’opportunité de projeter une autre image d’Haïti, et selon Elan Moncher, d’Action et Coopération en Développement (ACOD), ils sont prêts à partager cette expérience avec ceux qui souhaitent se lancer dans l’entrepreneuriat. Diderot Musset, de SURTAB, pour sa part, affirme qu’au GES 2016, il était beaucoup question d’innovation. L’innovation, selon ce qu’il a retenu, c’est tourner à gauche quand tout le monde tourne à droite. Et ils ont tous effectué le virage à gauche et reviennent au pays convaincus que l’entrepreneuriat est la planche de salut apte à combattre la pauvreté et le chômage.

Peter F. Mulrean, magnanime, s’est effacé pour faire place aux « héros du jour» qui se sont retrouvés donc sous les feux des projecteurs. L’ambassadeur américain a donc réitéré l’éventail de programmes dont disposent en Haïti l’USAID et ses partenaires pour soutenir les entrepreneurs et le secteur commercial, à savoir notamment des stages de formation pour les hommes d’affaires, de l’aide dans la recherche de financement pour des projets, des
financements ou cofinancements pour aider les entrepreneurs à lancer leurs affaires.

Southern Belize Communities Better Prepared for Natural Disasters  

Taiwan and PADF training program benefits 14,000 residents

 Dangriga, Belize (June 30, 2016) – Thousands of residents of coastal Belize are better prepared for extreme weather and the effects of climate change after a yearlong program funded by Taiwan and implemented by the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).

Through the Community Preparedness and Resilience initiative, launched in July 2015, PADF assisted over 14,000 residents of Belize’s Stann Creek District in preparing for and responding to disasters.

“We have engaged both communities through capacity building, contingency planning and ecological restoration efforts and increased awareness about disaster preparedness and climate change,” says Dr. Minerva Pinelo, PADF Belize Project Director. “It has been a great experience seeing residents take ownership of the project, become involved in building resilience within their communities and understand how climate change adaptation is key to the preservation of their livelihoods.”

PADF collaborated with communities and partners to carry out the following activities:

  • Trained and equipped local emergency response teams in Dangriga and Hopkins
     
  • Engaged students and teachers at seven schools with programs on climate change and disaster risk reduction
     
  • Launched eight public awareness campaigns aimed at protecting fragile ecosystems
     
  • Created hazard maps, flood gauges and strengthened early warning systems in each community
     
  • Partnered with the University of Belize to expand its Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center and engage students in field work
     
  • Is collaborating with Hamanasi Adventure Dive Resort to plant mangrove trees to mitigate coastal erosion

Through a partnership with the University of Belize, PADF Belize facilitated a course on global positioning system (GPS) tracking and mapping. With support from Taiwan, the university received thousands of dollars’ worth of technical equipment, tools and software in order to build the capacity of its GIS Center. Using the software, the team was able to map vulnerable areas of coastline and create hazard maps listing evacuation routes.

“Working with PADF has been an educational experience,” says Veronica Escalante, a Natural Resource Management student at the University of Belize. “The hazard maps produced as a result of our data collection help make decisions and plan support systems to mitigate disaster that may occur in highly vulnerable coastal areas.  It has been a fulfilling and rewarding experience.

Belize is a low-lying coastal nation that is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Rising sea levels, erosion, flooding and the degradation of valuable marine environments threaten local residents, as well as ecosystems that many Belizeans rely on for their livelihoods in the fishing and tourism industries.

“We must all prepare for climate change,” says H.E. Benjamin Ho, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Belize. “We are pleased that this partnership between Taiwan, PADF and Belize has given coastal communities a head start.”

PADF and Taiwan have been collaborating with countries throughout the region to address emergencies and natural disasters. The Taiwan-PADF Disaster Assistance and Reconstruction Fund is a five-year partnership to foster preparedness and mitigation programs. Community-based disaster preparedness projects have been carried out in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Disaster Assistance and Reconstruction Fund has delivered assistance to more than 282,000 people in Latin America & the Caribbean since 2012.

10 Best Practices in Crime Prevention Facilitation

1. Greet your audience by establishing a personal connection. Maintain eye contact throughout the presentation. 

2. Use a voice loud and clear enough to be heard and understood. Employ body language that communicates your ideas visually. 

3. Describe your objectives in the beginning. Sum up main points at the end. 

4. Define key concepts. Provide at least one practical example of each one. 

5. Use support material that complements but does not complicate the presentation (PowerPoint, worksheets, chalkboard). Keep it interesting but simple! 

6. We learn by doing! Include at least one hands-on exercise from the manual

7. Gauge participants’ understanding by encouraging questions and comments. Rephrase the questions so the entire class hears them. 

8. Teach the objectives accurately, and as they are presented in the manual. 

9. Manage time carefully! Break up lectures and discussion at appropriate points. There is a lot of material, and you are likely to need more time instead of less.

10. Download PADF's bookmark to keep the tips in a handy place while teaching.

Miami Herald | How one Woman is Bringing Hygiene to Haiti

Miami Herald BY JACQUELINE CHARLES

Jun 21, 2016 -- Myrtha Vilbon, the owner of Glory Industries, shows off the first company to manufacture toilet paper in Haiti. She'll be among four Haitian entrepreneurs attending the Global Entrepreneurial Summit at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, with President Barack Obama. Jacqueline Charles jcharles@miamiherald.com

Port-au-Prince —  It comes in packaging with labels like Joy and Glory, a nod to Haitians’ deep spirituality and to a time when all she had was prayer after losing her fortune in a milk-distribution deal turned sour.

Now Myrtha Vilbon, who spent nine years shuffling between her Bible and her computer after seeing her business slip away, is rebuilding from scratch with the most basic of products — toilet paper.

“A great majority — about 40 percent of the population here — cannot afford toilet paper,” said Vilbon, the owner of Glory Industries, a company manufacturing toilet paper in Haiti. “Toilet paper is a luxury.”

In a year’s time, Vilbon, 58, has gone from a woman unable to get banks to support her $2.4 million toilet-paper-making venture to one where she can choose her own lenders. And this week, she’ll be among four Haitian entrepreneurs attending the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, with President Barack Obama. The seventh annual summit takes place Wednesday through Friday, and Obama will address the group on the final day.

More than 5,000 entrepreneurs from around the world submitted applications, but only 700 were chosen to attend. All our of the Haitian enterprise — Glory Industries, SWITCH, SURTAB and ACOD — represent new ventures that are tackling the challenges of launching a business in a country with a complex business environment.

And while Haiti’s current economic indicators are the same or worse than in 2008 when the country experienced food riots — and now there is political instability, as well — U.S. officials say the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded programs like LEAD are helping.

“There is progress,” a U.S. government official said.

A year and a half ago, Vilbon, struggling to get her project financed, entered LEAD’s rigorous business plan competition on the advice of a family friend and won. She used the resulting $200,000 U.S. government grant as leverage to raise more than $1 million in additional investment.

“With the funding from USAID, financiers grew a little more faith,” she said. “I was even dictating the terms, when before I couldn’t even get one penny to put into the project.”

While access to credit for women entrepreneurs in Haiti is scarce, the country is one of the worst for doing business. It ranks 182 out of 189 on the World Bank’s annual 2016 Doing Business Index, and even worse — 188 out of 189 — for starting a business.

As for the ease in getting credit, the ranking isn’t that much better. It ranks 174 out of 189.

“I knocked on doors; many financial doors and opportunities weren’t offered to me,” said Vilbon, who had 37 years of business experience and a reputation for turning a profit. “A woman in industry is not so well viewed, so there was a little bit of a gender problem.”

Sitting in her expansive office where her low-cost brand of toilet paper occupies a conference table overlooking the factory floor, Vilbon strongly believes that financial institutions saw her project as lower-risk because of LEAD’s strict review.

How Vilbon ended up in the toilet-paper business is an example of bouncing back — and of one woman’s determination not to let shrewd foreign negotiators and Haitian cut-throat business tactics get the best of her.

Born into a family of entrepreneurs, Vilbon learned about business from her father, Max, who was the maker of one of Haiti’s most well-known candies, Menthes Alta.

He sent her to the United States at age 14, where she eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at St. John’s University in New York. On her return to Haiti, she briefly joined the family’s confectionery business. Soon, however, she opened a boutique confectionery store where she was buying candies and cookies wholesale and reselling them to both wholesalers and retailers.

“I was in contact every day with the little merchants, sellers, and that made me happy,” she said. “I saw the business grow.”

When cheaper imported candies began undercutting her profits, she traveled to the ports in Port-de-Paix to learn more about the problem. The experience would prove valuable decades later, giving her insight into the world of the Madan Saras, the Haitian market women who resell products on the streets to the country’s poor masses. Today, these women push her most popular and affordable toilet-paper roll, TouTou NI — which means naked in Creole — in places that trucks and buses can’t reach. Smaller than the average toilet-paper roll, the brand costs the equivalent of 16 cents and has enough paper for about 10 uses.

When confectioneries became unprofitable, Vilbon became the local agent for a Dutch brand of milk, Bella Holandesa. She later added other grocery store items from Brazil and France.

“I built an empire and I made a lot of money,” she said. “But I soon started losing my products either by mergers or by other people taking over the brands.”

Soon, she was left with only one product, Bella Holandesa. That’s where Vilbon received her toughest lesson in business.

After 17 years, she lost her distribution deal with the product, unwittingly signing away her legal ability to collect on compensation and over $1 million in back commissions, she said.

The experience sent her to her Bible and eventually her computer, where she soon became “a professor in toilet-paper making.”

Why toilet paper?
“I felt I would be working for a good cause. I was contributing to better hygiene for the people of Haiti,” she said. “I thought it was a product that would be in great demand and be of great service to the community, and that would be the cheapest thing to invest in, in production.”

At a time when many Haitian businesses are laying off workers and one other toilet paper company, Tendress, was recently forced to shut down its operations, Vilbon says she’s having the opposite experience.

“We’re trying to get more funds to buy a new set of machinery to be able to satisfy more needs, to reach out to more communities with our papers,” she said. She has plans to scale up, expanding into another warehouse. 

Walking the warehouse floor, Vilbon proudly points out her eight registered labels that now occupy about 5 percent of the Haitian market, which is dominated by toilet paper imported from the Dominican Republic. She notes that she knows every step of the operations.

She has created over 100 jobs, and about 70 percent of the workers in her factory are women.

“I would like to empower every woman to believe in themselves,” she said. “When women do something, they focus more on it because they know they have something to prove. Even in their subconscious, they invest themselves.”

She preaches perseverance, patience and a passion to achieve.

“Every bad thing that happens to me in life somehow brings me something positive. I am today an attorney. I went back to school and after five years graduated last September and got a law degree.”

The path to success isn’t a straight line, Vilbon said.

“It’s a broken line. You are going to fall, you are going to stumble. But don’t get discouraged.”

Haitian Entrepreneurs attend global summit

Washington, D.C. (June 14, 2016) – Four Haitian entrepreneurs have been selected to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES2016) hosted by President Barack Obama to be held at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, from June 22-24. All four businesses have received investments from the Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) project, an initiative funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) that supports small- and medium-sized businesses in Haiti.

Selected from among 5,000 applicants from around the world, the Haitian businesses will join over 700 entrepreneurs and more than 300 investors at GES2016.  

“We are very proud of all our LEAD grantees," says Nadia Cherrouk, PADF Country Director and LEAD Chief of Party. “Those who have been selected to attend the Summit represent the faces of Haiti’s emerging economy. They have worked so hard to grow their businesses and are shining examples of what it means to pursue a dream, despite all obstacles."  

Participating LEAD entrepreneurs range from a social enterprise that markets propane stoves to reduce carbon emissions to a company that manufactures hi-tech computer tablets. They are:

  • Myrtha Vilbon, Glory Industries
    Glory Industries manufactures personal paper products such as toilet paper and napkins. The factory employs 49 people, 70 percent of them women. Ten percent have a disability. Thanks to an early grant from LEAD, the company secured bank loans and leveraged over $1 million to start operations.
     
  • Kalinda Magloire, Switch S.A.
    SWITCH S.A. markets propane stoves to the Haitian Diaspora, harnessing the power of remittances to support development. The company has generated over $400,000 in sales since it started operations in 2014. SWITCH also partners with renowned chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen to convert charcoal stoves to SWITCH’s propane stove system for school lunch programs. 
     
  • Elan Moncher, Action et Cooperation en Développement (ACOD)
    ACOD is a Haitian agricultural enterprise operating in the North of Haiti, which produces a variety of organic hot peppers, using only organic fertilizers. Through the LEAD program, the company received a grant to install irrigation equipment, construct a business facility, and improve their operations. In the future, ACOD will be able to concretize its project of promoting and exporting  the organic Haitian pepper variety to the international market. The company’s expansion has been able to generate over 400 jobs.
     
  • Diderot Musset, Surtab S.A.
    Sûrtab S.A. is a Haitian start-up that manufactures a popular brand of “Made in Haiti” Android tablets. Since launching in 2013, Sûrtab has grossed more than $4 million in sales and grown to provide technology-based solutions for key sectors such as education, health and agriculture. Eighty percent of the company’s employees are women. 

Haitian entrepreneurs face a multitude of constraints to growth as the country continues to develop its infrastructure. Some of the common difficulties facing enterprises in Haiti include reliable access to power, acquiring property, and access to credit and finance. Despite these challenges, LEAD has helped to fund dozens of thriving businesses in Haiti. For business people like Myrtha Vilbon, who built Glory Industries, which manufactures toilet paper, the business is personal. “I thought enabling everyday people the chance to afford toilet paper would influence how people saw hygiene,” she says. “We are creating a movement.”

PADF Executive Director John Sanbrailo wishes Myrtha Vilbon good luck before she heads off to the Summit.

PADF Executive Director John Sanbrailo wishes Myrtha Vilbon good luck before she heads off to the Summit.

“Haiti presents a complex and challenging business environment,” says Jene Thomas, USAID Haiti Mission Director. “The LEAD program shows that with the proper support and financing, businesses can indeed thrive in Haiti. USAID is pleased to see these entrepreneurs included in a prestigious group of their peers from all over the world".

To date, the LEAD project has funded 31 enterprises and leveraged over $10 million in private capital. The program has provided training and technical assistance to more than 100 enterprises, and created to date 10,000 direct and indirect jobs across the Port-au-Prince, St. Marc, and Cap-Haitian corridors.

GES 2016 brings together entrepreneurs and investors from around the world. The Summit also shows how entrepreneurs are using business to address global challenges .This year’s location in Silicon Valley is meant to showcase America’s start-up culture while introducing the American market to global investment opportunities. For more information on GES 2016, including the agenda and list of attendees, please visit www.ges2016.org

Learn more about other LEAD enterprises at www.leadinvestmentshaiti.info.

About USAID
USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. www.usaid.gov

About PADF
PADF operates throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to generate economic opportunities, advance social progress, strengthen civil society, and prepare for and respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2015, the Foundation reached more than 17 million people in 22 countries.www.padf.org

Contact:
Hearly G. Mayr
Director of Communications and Public Affairs
+1.202.280.3846, hmayr@padf.org