By Gerald V. Paul
Pierspective Entraide Humanitaire held their fifth gala at the Don Valley Hotel and Suites last Saturday in support of Ecole St. Paul Cesselesse Corail in Haiti.
The gala was about helping Haitian children and communities reach a higher level of dignity and self-sufficiency in a country eager to make more meaningful contributions on the international stage.
It was also about friendship, interpersonal connections and, ultimately, pleasure and entertainment.
Humanitarian awards went to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Haiti over the years in social services, Sankofa Juba and John and Maggie Barnfield of Rayjon Share Care in Sarnia.
“Since the foundation and registration of our organization approximately 12 years ago, we have touched thousands of lives through shipments of food, toys, clothes, medical supplies, computers, books and school supplies,” said Dr. Eric Pierre, Pierspective president.
Pierre, honourary council general for Haiti, noted that in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake, “we have built and equipped a computer centre in Meyotie, in the vicinity of Port-au-Prince.
“With Aide Mutuelle poure un Environment Nouveau (AMEN), our partner in Haiti we are the driving force in building the St. Paul school.
“We had experienced one of the most satisfying emotions in our lives at the official opening of the school in January 2014. Last September, three more classrooms were completed on time to welcome an additional contingent of pupils,” Pierre added.
However, “we need your continued support, the assistance of your loved ones, your friends and your institutions such as churches, trade unions, schools and workplaces.”
Independent for 200 years, Haiti became the first Black republic when an army of slaves defeated their oppressors and a new state was born. Today, it suffers economically and relies heavily on foreign aid.
Keynote speaker Prof. Samuel Pierre, president of GRAHN-Mode, called for a unique approach for Haiti’s post-earthquake reconstruction, a participatory rebuilding process emphasizing interaction among key sectors.
“Training these students will help the country get back on its feet and become self-sufficient,” said Pierre, one of the Canadian academics behind the project, hatched in the wake of the 2010 quake.
He said the idea is to give Haitian society the scientific and technological expertise it has often lacked, as well as to stave off the brain drain by training qualified stakeholders on their home soil.
Pierre said that over the next 10 years, the institute plans to train 1,000 scientists to support Haiti’s development from the inside to free itself from the need for foreign aid.