Update on Installation of Internet Antenna

Update on Installation of Internet Antenna

Over the last few months we has been working with our local partners, APDAG, in Haiti to bring internet to their community on the island of La Gonave.


Beginning in November, we secured a new partnership with Access Haiti, a national telecommunications company to work with APDAG on installing an internet antenna. The process of developing and implementing a plan was a big step for APDAG to engage with a new partner and advocate for the needs of their community.


Here's a picture of one of our early meetings where we finalized the plans to move forward.


As with all of our projects in Haiti, we strive for development without dependency, urging our local partners to take active roles in initiatives. In the plans created with Access Haiti, APDAG agreed to provide the onsite preparations. By measuring the land around the community office, which will become the location of the antenna, APDAG is making sure the installation process can move forward smoothly.



At this moment, the tower for the antenna is being fabricated in Port-au-Prince. Access Haiti will manage the transportation of the antenna to the island of La Gonave where APDAG members are prepared and eager to get the installation underway.



With access to reliable internet APDAG will be able to better manage local development efforts and attract more partners to support efforts in the area. This antenna is another step towards development that engages communities and we are excited to see the opportunities it will allow APDAG to undertake for future projects.

2016 Agreement Signed Between Roots and APDAG

On January 31st, Roots of Development and its local partner, APDAG (The Professional Association for the Development and Advancement of Gran Sous/La Gonave), presented their 2016 partnership agreement to the population of Gran Sous. The agreement provides a background of each organization and its roles and responsibilities within the context of the partnership. During the gathering, Roots and APDAG listened to feedback from the community and answered questions regarding the partnership (the agreement). At the end, representatives from both entities signed the agreement in front of the population. The agreement is good for three years. We have provided it below (in its original language, Haitian Creole)…

An End-of-the-Year Thank You from APDAG

Owen Elphick’s “Natural Infection”

Tuesday evening, in coordination with E.O. Smith READS, Roots of Development had the honor of hosting Dr. Paul Farmer at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, CT. High school junior Owen Elphick opened up the night for us by reading his poem. We wanted to share his powerful and inspiring message with all of our followers. Thanks Owen!


Natural Infection

By Owen Elphick


I’m here to tell you

about the disease

that’s infected mankind,

the sickness

sweeping across the globe,

so subtle

we hardly see it,

so powerful

we know not

how to fear it.


It’s left countless


in its wake,

paving its road through us

with countless more;

and a cure could be found

if only we sought one.


Because it takes over

your whole being,

this illness

of the soul,

creeping inside you like

an animal looking for shelter

and warmth

and food,

a hungry little parasite

that eats away at you,

until all that is left

is a shell

that does not comprehend

what it has become;


or else,

wrapping around us

like a blanket

that softens you,

smothers you,

lulls you

to sleep.


And in that sleep

we dream

that we are safe,

that we are special,

that we are all that matters,

and that the rest of the world

is the illusion

that means nothing.


If only in sleep,

we could wake each other

from our dreams;

for that is the trap

we have fallen into.


Where is the snow

to wake us from the poppies;

where is the kiss

to save us from the spinning wheel?


Whether we like it or not,

magic will not save the world

that suffers as we hide

in our dreams;

the only thing that can do that

is our decision

to wake

and to fight.


Because the Black Death,



and ebola

all have their day

and are gone;

but apathy is the natural infection

and it lives on and on

and on…


Now ask yourself one question:


Do you care?

Owen Elphick and Dr. Farmer speak at E.O. Smith High School on Tuesday, March 31st.

The Story of HELP and Haiti Cherie

HELP student Elice Oreste.

“I never spent a day in school in my life, and so on Elice’s first day of school all I could give him was one pencil, one notebook, and a prayer.” Elice Oreste’s mother shared, reflecting on the progress her son has made. Elice was the first in his family to go to university. His parents are farmers who grow corn, sorghum, and potatoes in southern Haiti. With what little money they had, they prioritized the education of their seven children. Though he worked hard all of high school and graduated at the top of his class, going to university was financially impossible for Elice. For two years, he worked as a teacher and a carpenter in his home community, a small town called Gris Gris, earning $600 a year – about the average annual salary in Haiti. He then heard about HELP from a friend. Not only was Elice’s life transformed, but so too were the lives of his siblings, his parents, and his entire community.


HELP was started by Conor Bohan in 1998. Bohan was a volunteer teacher in Haiti when one of his students asked him for $30 to register for secretarial school. This simple request opened Bohan’s eyes to the need for funding for undergraduate education in Haiti, and the impact achieving such an education can have on one’s life.


Last year HELP received over 225 applications from Haitian students seeking financial support to pursue an undergraduate education. Every applicant earned a straight A average throughout high school and graduated at the top of their class. HELP was able to take on 40 of the applicants, but hopes to increase their funds so they are able to take on a bigger percentage of the applicants in the future.


When asked what he was most proud of in terms of his organization, Bohan did not hesitate in answering “our students”. In a country where only 5% of the population graduates from high school, making it through with straight As and then going on to college is a rarity. HELP students are not only dedicated to their education, but also to their country. An overwhelming 84% of all Haitian college graduates live outside of the country, but 90% of HELP graduates stay in Haiti – and out of the 10% who leave most are pursuing graduate degrees on prestigious scholarships or working for international organizations on Haiti’s behalf. In fact, HELP students are so dedicated to their country’s future that some alumni have formed a program known as KOREM (a Creole acronym) through which students who graduate from HELP contribute 15% of their income, for the first 9 years they are on the labor market, back to the program.


HELP is the beneficiary of this year’s “Haiti Cherie: Pride. Love. Commitment.”, a fundraising event for Haiti that was founded by native Haitian Fabrice J. Armand. Armand is the president of Fabrice J. Armand Group, a company that “helps clients unlock the impossible”. His three major areas of interest in life are the arts, children overcoming adversity, and Haiti. Since 2011, Armand has been hosting an Annual Haiti Cherie event for his birthday to raise money for Haiti-focused non-profit organizations.


Fabrice Armand will host his 5th Annual Haiti Cherie event on March 27th.

Armand’s commitment to Haiti has extended beyond his annual event. He has also produced and released a documentary called Haiti Is Me, in order to spread awareness of the situation in Haiti and encourage people to get involved. Additionally, he helped produce the Off Broadway play ‘BOX’, a play that compares the story of Henry Box Brown, a slave who literally “mailed” himself to freedom, and Haitian men who attempted to also ship themselves to the U.S.


Elice is a perfect example of a dedicated HELP student. Since graduating, he has secured a job at a Heineken brewery, where he makes $18,000 a year – over 30 times what he made before going to college. Every New Years Elice holds an event in his home community where gives prizes to the kids who have the best grades in schools and hosts reading competitions and similar events. Events like the one Elice puts on are a common scene for HELP graduates, and they are now being held across the Haitian countryside. This is just one of the many ways that increasing college education benefits the country. “My studies have not been only for myself. The knowledge I have gained will be put to use to support my family and to promote better ways of life for my Haitian brothers and sisters,” Elice states proudly.


     This year’s event will be held at the Broad Street Ballroom in New York City, on March 27th. Members of the Roots team are excited to be able to attend and support their friend’s at HELP.  To buy your tickets visit: www.haiticherie5.eventbrite.com