A big thank you from our heart to all our readers in 2018.
HAITI COSMOS: An interview with Jean-Claude François
For the French version, click here
On 12 January 2010, an earthquake measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale shook the city of Port-au-Prince. The earthquake resulted in 230,000 deaths, 300,000 injured, 1 million people displaced and 1.5 million homeless. Currently, electricity and running water are unreliable, and two million Haitians still live in tents.
Following the tragedy, the Swiss association Haiti-Cosmos built a university and college. Eighty-five percent of Haiti Cosmos’ activities are funded by the Association Suisse des Amis de Soeur Emmanuelle (ASASE).
To learn more about the projects of Haiti-Cosmos, GBN had the privilege of sitting with the Vice President of the association, Jean Claude François.
Jean-Claude François: the man behind the scenes
Jean-Claude François arrived in Geneva in 1976. After working in the accounting and fiduciary sectors for international banks, he now runs a fiduciary office Geneva. “I have lived and seen misery and I want to help change this for Haitians,” is his motivation for investing his time, fortune and effort. For example, François built the UJPM University on his own property.
He also hopes that by providing education and other resources, this will aid the country economically, decrease corruption and provide the most important thing, peace.
Partnerships at the heart of Haiti Cosmos
There are many NGOs who are working closely with Haiti-Cosmos, including World Vision, Caritas, Oxfam and Zanmi la santé in areas such as education, health, agricultural and construction.
Particular partnerships include:
- World vision, who are providing clinics for pregnant women and births.
- The Ministry of Health, who are supplying vaccinations and public health education.
- Gzah- Association du Groupe des Amis d’Haiti, who are helping to finance state primary schools.
A future engineering school
A future project by Haiti Cosmos is the launch of a mechanical school, which is designed to allow local Haitians greater opportunity to contribute to both the community and the economy.
For this project, Haiti Cosmos are looking for:
- Machines – for teaching and production of material
- Teachers/specialists – particularly volunteers who can provide their valuable time to the project.
Additionally, Haiti Cosmos is looking for volunteers locally in Geneva to help with administrative skills or experience in soliciting donations, and there is always a need for more computers, machines, teachers and financial support.
Other ongoing activities include:
- Supporting a secondary school, College Bethesda. It has around 1000 students and at present almost 340 students recieved their “maturité”.
- Overseeing the University Jean Price-Mars (UJPM). The university provides courses on business management, accounting, engineering, architecture, agronomy, nursing and business law. The the campus is around 10 hectares and can accommodate 6 faculties and some 6000 students.
- Running 28 clinics that receive daily around 20 patients from all over the country. Consultation costs CHF 1.50 and the money is used to buy office supplies and create funds for the poorest patients to receive free consultations and medicines. It is also use to pay the clinic’s medical workers.
- Creating a laboratory and technical school to produce plant medicines where all the medical workers have the access. In 1997 two biochemists, Mr. Gabriel Bitter and Mr. Jacques Falquet conducted a study on phytomedicines and launched a medicinal garden in Haiti. Later, in November 2000, Jacques Falquet and Dr. Bertrand Graz conducted validity tests on plants of the garden, which currently contains 121 species, 40 of which have been scientifically studied and recommended in a document known by the scientific community as the of “Tramil Report”. They have subsequently organized a seminar for 68 health workers trained by a Swiss doctor. Each participant received documentation on 22 medicinal plants used during the training. These 22 plants, non-toxic and easily cultivated, can cure about 80 percent of diseases diagnosed in the state.
- Overseeing small loans (micro credits). In this way, Haiti Cosmos helps farmers to increase production and also support locals who want to start a small business.
Please visit Haiti Cosmos for more information.