July 2013 Project Update

July 2013 Project Update

Hello, everyone! We’ve decided to try something new with our project updates by sending them out in the form of a monthly video blog. We figure that it will be a more fun and interesting way to keep all of you updated on the progress of our projects in Haiti as well as what’s going on in the states to support them. This month, we are eager to share the continued progress of a few of our existing projects in addition to an exciting new endeavor on the island of La Gonave.

Repairs to the damage incurred during Hurricane Sandy continue to be worked on in collaboration with Concern Worldwide. With the help of you guys- our supporters- we raised $19,000 toward our $29,000 goal. The rest is being covered by Concern Worldwide. We’ve also recently completed two additional major water facilities. One, in the community of Nan Plim, is a typical water system that captures fresh water from an underground spring and pipes it out to a tank where it can be treated and distributed. The second water facility is a rainwater collection tank in the community of Nan Riske. Additionally, our women’s group, GFDAG, is still going strong with their business that buys goods wholesale in Port-au-Prince, ships it to La Gonave and sells it at a profit with the goal of having a source of revenue independently of Roots in order to carry out their major goals. One of these goals is an education initiative that strives to keep orphans and vulnerable children in school.

Finally, we have our exciting new project- the capacity building workshops orchestrated by our new partners, CDECH. CDECH will be doing a 12-month diagnostic report to discern the strengths and weaknesses of the main association we work with on the island, APDAG. They will carry out capacity building and leadership training workshops in order to further develop the capabilities and independence of these men in their community.

So, how do we support all of this? Fundraisers, of course! In late June, we had our most successful event, Carnival in the Capital. We had over 300 guests in attendance, a live Ra-Ra band and delicious Haitian food and drinks. The night couldn’t have been more of a blast! Check out our Facebook account for photos of the event.

If you’re looking to support sometime in the future, we’ve got an exciting Ride and Walk in Connecticut coming up on Sunday, September 15th. You can check out the details and register here.

Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! Thank you!


Executive Director Chad Bissonnette Marking International Nelson Mandela Day on the Huff Post

Today the world celebrates Nelson Mandela International Day, which by no coincidence falls on the birthday of the former South African President for which it has been named. In 2009, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution that declared July 18th Nelson Mandela International Day, in recognition of “Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity.” On this day every year, the UN joins the Nelson Mandela Foundation in asking every citizen of the world to dedicate 67 minutes to helping others. Sixty-seven minutes representing the number of years Nelson Mandela has devoted his time to the service of humanity.


It is a day of service to others and, for me, an important and appropriate time to reflect on the way in which we serve others. I have been “in service” to others, in a professional capacity since 2007, when I co-founded an international development organization called Roots of Development that helps impoverished communities achieve greater independence and autonomy over their own development efforts. That service has given me the opportunity to learn more about myself, more about poverty, and more about humanity than anything else I could have done in my life. It also gave me a very intense look into the interpersonal and intercultural complexities associated with such service.


Full text available on the Huffington Post, here.

APDAG: The Partner in Haiti for Roots of Development

A major part of Roots of Development’s mission is to help communities come together and better organize themselves so that they can fully utilize the skills, knowledge, and resources they possess to complete life-changing projects. The communities we work with are then able to choose, build, manage, and maintain their own projects. In other words, they decide their own future. In the end our partner communities don’t just end up with a new building, they end up with a stronger voice, greater influence, and a whole lot more independence. There is no better example of this than with our partners in Haiti, APDAG (The Villager’s Association for the Development and Advancement of Gran Sous/La Gonave).

In the video below, APDAG president Stevenson Justin and community member Madam Oldove Succés speak about what the projects have meant to their community.