Celebrating our Partners on International Day of Peace
September 21st is International Day of Peace. MCC’s partners in Haiti are building peace every day by resolving conflicts, transforming communities, and advocating on behalf of Haiti’s most vulnerable. Celebrate peace with us by learning about their work!
ACJ (Christian Justice Association)
ACJ mobilizes and trains volunteer Christian lawyers to provide direct legal services to individuals in detention with relatively straight-forward, low-level offenses or accusations. Because of the tremendous need, ACJ has started by prioritizing serving detainees and inmates who are fathers so that each person’s release helps reunify a family. Because ACJ understands its work as ministry, the ACJ lawyers also offer to re-connect freed detainees and inmates with their churches, or, if they don’t have a church, put them in touch with a local pastor who can try to further support their reintegration into the community.
VIDEO: Legal Aid as Ministry
JUPED (Youth United for Environmental Protection and Development)
Faced with a vulnerable, transient population and a weak and inefficient justice system, JUPED, with MCC support, launched a community-based restorative justice platform called Ti Platfòm Lapè, (Little Platforms of Peace) in 2017. The peace platforms are composed of pastors, teachers, market women, and other community members who have been trained in mediation skills and who meet every fifteen days to hear and resolve cases of conflict and violence in the community. In addition to peacefully resolving cases, JUPED monitors the rates of conflict and violence in the area and holds events to raise community awareness of human rights, conflict, violence, and peace.
What’s the best way to teach peace and nonviolence? For youth in Cité Soleil, one of Haiti’s most underdeveloped areas, the answer is soccer.
SAKALA, a partner of MCC’s for six years, has scored a goal with this concept. Gangs have broken Cité Soleil into competing turf and plunged the community into cyclical fighting. To the rest of Haiti, people from Cité Soleil’s 34 neighborhoods are stigmatized, dogged by assumptions of banditry and violence. SAKALA is working to change that perception and teach peace.
SOFA (Solidarity with Haitian Women)
When we think of disasters, such as Hurricane Matthew that battered Haiti in the fall of 2016, the images that often come to our minds are of flattened houses, destroyed infrastructure, fleeing families and hungry people. The suffering is clear and public.
What we don't see is the amount of sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls that follows nearly every disaster because of the additional stress placed on families.
Zanmi Timoun (Friends of Children)
For Jean Louis, hope came in the form of MCC partner Zanmi Timoun (Friends of the Children). Zanmi Timoun seeks out cases of children in prison serving far more than their allotted sentence. They work with the prison system to set meetings with the children to assess their needs and begin the process of working toward release and reintegration to their communities.
Zanmi Timoun provides incarcerated children with a lawyer and pays the court fees children’s families are unable to pay. With legal representation, most children finally receive a hearing with a judge and are often released soon afterwards.
These are just some examples of the peace work being done in Haiti. All of MCC’s work, in Haiti and around the world, aims to minimize conflict by developing community-centered development models and by educating staff, partners, and participants about peace and conflict. Together, we’re working toward a world that is more just and peaceful for everyone.