Interview:  Carline Etienne

Interview: Carline Etienne

by Mara-Hiley Chery

1. What is the name of the Women’s Group?

Groupment Fanm Development Advancement Gran Sous (Women’s Group for the Development and Advancement for Gran Sous)

2. Whose idea was it to start the group?

An elder woman (70 years old) in our prayer group said “It would be good for the women of Gran Sous to meet, to have a place where they can move, we can’t remain in the corner, we have a voice.” We chose a date to meet and proposed the idea of forming a women’s group, and everyone thought it was a great idea. So we decided on a day (Monday) when we would regularly meet and every woman can give her opinions, speak about the things she would like, and what we as a group can improve for her.

3. Why is it important that there is a group for women?

It’s important, i don’t know what things are like for women of other nationalities, but Haitian women suffer a lot of injustices. We suffer them at home, sometimes at the hands of our husbands and in the workplace. A group like this lets a woman know that she has an opinion and should voice her desires. Men often decide that they are in charge and are chiefs, but it’s important that every woman knows that she has the same rights as men and that she isn’t worthless. I want women to open their eyes and see that they cannot stay where they are.

4. How did you become President?

I and another woman were chosen as possible presidents, and so we were asked to leave the room while everyone else votes, and when we returned I found out that I received a majority of the votes.

5. Did you offer to become President or were you and this other women chosen by the group?

We were chosen. I didn’t offer myself for the position. I did think about being President and wanted it. But I think it’s better when you’re chosen.

6. What do you like about being President?

I like this position because when I’m with the other women I feel good. We all look forward to our meetings and we enjoy what we’re doing. We always pray for our meetings. When we get together we clean the roads or do household chores for neighbors that can’t. For example, we’ll go out and buy detergents and do laundry for those who can’t afford to buy the soap or can’t physically do the work. When we’re all together we also have a good time together, we may sing a song, share stories or tell jokes. As President I don’t make decisions on my own. I believe that leadership involves bringing everyone together to make decisions together. We discuss the ideas that I and others present because sometimes the people around us have more insight, they can see things farther ahead than others.

7. What are the current projects you are working on?

Women. I would like to lift their spirits, wake them up, get them alive, and give them hope. Some wake up in the morning with nothing to give their children. I hope to change their lives. I hope we can create some sort of work, maybe a market, something that would give them hope for the future. I want this for all women in Haiti.

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