Embracing uFondwa’s Value of Solidarity with Women

Embracing uFondwa’s Value of Solidarity with Women

Sister Claudette Prevot wears many hats since she graduated from uFondwa’s School of Business Management in 2015. But whether she is serving as the Community Director for the Sisters of St. Antoine or Administrator of the Association of the Peasants of Fondwa (APF) Guest Center and Clinic, Sister Claudette is encouraging and supporting women to receive an education, and gain the skills they need to become successful micro-entrepreneurs.

After completing her thesis work on Assessing Economic Activities of the APF, Sister Claudette saw the need to open a vocational school for women in Fondwa last year. Over 50 women are currently enrolled and are learning skills to make flower arrangements, and to become seamstresses and chefs.
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(Left to Right) Culinary skills being taught at the women’s vocational school; the community of the Sisters of St. Francis Antoinne Fondwa in 2009. Sister Claudette is on the far right dressed in her all white habit.

Recently Sister Claudette shared the story of Zilmie, a young woman from Fondwa who attends the vocational school in Fondwa. In years past, Zilmie paid someone $400 Haitian dollars ($32 USD) to sew her children’s school uniforms.

“This year, I am sewing the uniforms myself and won’t have to pay anyone,” Zilmie says with pride. Now she can use the money she saved to buy food for her family and additional material to make clothes to sell to others.

As Sister Claudette knows well from her experiences at uFondwa, education and skills are very important. But for women in Haiti to escape generations of poverty and embrace a legacy of hope, they need more.

Solidarity, for Sister Claudette and her community means accompanying women throughout their struggles—spiritually and emotionally, and in other tangible and practical ways such as Sister Claudette is demonstrating with women in Fondwa. She and members of her community accompany women to financial independence with business skills training and mentoring. They provide pre-school services for their children so the women may attend school and grow their business. They care for the most vulnerable young girls (and boys) in the community at the St. Antoine’s Orphanage.

In October, six years after the 2010 earthquake claimed the life of one Sister and a child from the orphanage, Sister Claudette, like many others in Fondwa had to call forth her resilience once again. The Sisters’ modest home, built after the 2010 earthquake, was destroyed as well as their small chapel and gardens. Fortunately, the Vocational School, temporarily located at St. Antoine’s Primary and Secondary School, was not significantly damaged.

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(Left to Right) Damage to the Sisters’ Home was extensive as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

 

As she assessed the destruction around her, Sister Claudette offered prayers and comfort to the others sisters, the children and her neighbors.

To those who know her, uFondwa Graduate Sister Claudette, is an incredible individual who has influenced many women in very positive ways through her rich spiritual faith. But she also credits her university experience as life-changing, “uFondwa has been a great influence in my life. My education has enabled me to share my knowledge with my community and help other women become entrepreneurs.”

Along with her community, Sister Claudette is working to restore a sense of normalcy and hope for the women in Fondwa. They are grateful for the prayers and support being offered as they continue their important work in rural Haiti. The Sisters of St. Antoine celebrate their 20 year founding anniversary in October.

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