SOIL’s community-led earthquake response: Interview with Réa Dol
SOIL Co-founder Baudeler Magloire with Rea Dol and partners preparing emergency response supplies.
SOIL was founded in the spirit of working side-by-side with communities to build ecological sanitation solutions that could be community-led. That principle idea of community-driven impact continues to guide our work every day and has also provided a valuable framework for how we respond during emergency events that impact Haiti.
This approach allowed SOIL to immediately respond to the overwhelming need for support and emergency supplies following the devastating earthquake in August. Through our long-time community partners and deep roots in Haiti we were able to quickly mobilize a response through our trusted network of Haitian community leaders. One of SOIL’s response teams was led by Madame Réa Dol, a long-time SOIL collaborator and experienced leader, who immediately reached out to SOIL following the earthquake to see how we could work together to reach those in need. Réa is the Founder and Director of SOPUDEP (Society of Providence United for the Economic Development of Petion-Ville), a Haitian grassroots organization located in Port-au-Prince that provides accessible education to adults and children, supports children’s and women’s rights, and creates programs of economic empowerment for members of the community.
We recently had the opportunity to interview Réa, following her numerous trips to the impacted areas to provide supplies and building assistance. We’ve provided the interview below for our readers:
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Réa: I am the Director and Founder of SOPUDEP school in Port-au-Prince since 2002 and also the CESAH School which opened in 2018. I also work with different women groups and founded an orphanage called SOPU-ORPHANAGE which is home to 11 girls (from ages 3 to 11 years old). In my family, I have 3 children and a grandson.
What is your connection to SOIL?
Réa: I was connected with SOIL since it was founded in Haiti in 2006.
In what ways have you worked with SOIL in the past?
Réa: I worked with SOIL in the past to build ecological sanitation toilets at my school and we also worked together to provide emergency relief after the 2010 earthquake and hurricane Matthew.
What is the impact that you see SOIL is having?
Réa: To tell you the truth, SOIL is making a big impact in the life of the victims (of the earthquake) in comparison to the big international organizations. The donations SOIL received went directly to different localities where the people will not receive any help from the government or other big organizations.
What do you feel is special about Haitians being able to respond to the needs of their communities?
Réa: It is an imperative that Haitians are able to respond to the needs of their communities because oftentimes, outside actors don’t know the reality of what the population really needs.
Where do you hope to see Haiti in the next ten years?
Réa: It’s not an easy question to answer in this moment because the situation is very complicated for all Haitians that live in Haiti right now. My hope for Haiti in the next ten years is to see Haiti not under control of any big powerful country, and for our young people to change their mentality and have big dreams. Also, I’d like the Haitian government to create opportunities for young people and for Haiti to become The Pearl of the Antilles, as it was in the past. This is what I want for Haiti in the next ten years.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
Réa: I want to take this opportunity to give a big thank you to all people that contributed to earthquake response, even if only $1 was passed to SOIL to support our sisters and brothers who are victims in different catastrophes. Your donations go towards good help. Bless you all.
We are profoundly grateful to Réa and her tireless work to not only support those in emergency situations, but for her enduring efforts to provide equal opportunity for all Haitians. Haiti is in the midst of incredibly challenging times, but the hope endures because of the remarkable work that is done every day by Haitians taking the lead to support the growth and development of their communities. As an organization, we are proud to partner with inspiring leaders to provide real impact for communities in need.
SOIL depends on individual donations from people like you to fund our lifesaving, earth-restoring sanitation services in Haiti. Please consider supporting SOIL today.
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