The island of Haiti is overflowing with incredible, inspiring individuals, many with hope-filled stories that deserve to be shared! Here are just three of those people whose personal accounts of challenge and triumph are sure to encourage you.
- The survival of Evans Monsignac is so remarkable, it’s nearly unbelievable. While severely malnourished, dehydrated and physically wounded, Evans miraculously emerged after 27 days trapped beneath the ruins of Haiti’s earthquake. His reappearance not only confounded doctors, it defied medical logic; it’s thought to be the longest period of time anyone has endured such an ordeal. While recovering in a hospital in Tampa, Florida, Evans commented: “I still don’t understand how I’m here. The fact that I’m alive today isn’t because of me, it’s because of the grace of God.”
Evans was the very last person found alive under the debris after the earthquake leveled Port-au-Prince in January of 2010. The exact details of what happened while he was trapped remain a mystery, but if his experience has taught him anything, it’s that hope springs eternal. In Evans’ words: “Those who are sick should have the courage to live and pray to God, and those who are healthy need to cherish their life and to pray. Now I know that I must live life to the best I can each day.”
Read more about Evans here.
- As one of Haiti’s five participants in the 2012 London Olympics, Samyr Laine recognized the opportunity these games presented to inspire others to help rebuild Haiti following the devastating earthquake two years prior. Though he was born in the United States, Samyr’s parents and extended family all emigrated to America from Haiti. He grew up in New York and eventually attended Harvard University, where he set an Ivy League record in the triple jump event – the same event in which he competed in London.
He may not have come home with a medal from those Olympics, but Samyr did achieve something far more important – he was able to share his story with the world. In addition to pursuing his own athletic endeavors, Samyr made a commitment to help Haitians achieve theirs. He put his law career on hold to found Jump for Haiti, a nonprofit foundation focused on promoting interest in sports in hope of creating future Haitian Olympic athletes. Jump for Haiti’s goal is to develop athletes that were born and raised in Haiti, because as Samyr said: “So much beauty and potential lies there. The country can do great things.”
Read more about Samyr here.
- Maglande* is a 15-year-old girl from Restavek Freedom’s Child Advocacy Program. She is currently in the sixth grade, enrolled in one of our partner schools in Port-au-Prince. Maglande is tenderhearted and quick to smile, and is generally quite open and talkative. As one of the children in our program who has been identified as ‘at risk,’ Maglande has a higher chance of being sent into restavekbecause of her family situation. She is one of the precious children Restavek Freedom is doing preventive work on behalf of, ensuring she never has to enter into the system.
Maglande’s mother is the sole provider for the household, though this has proven to be a very difficult responsibility at times. When Maglande was recruited into the Restavek Freedom program back in 2014, she was overjoyed because she knew her life was about to improve significantly. For the last two years she’s been able to attend school, where she’s been studying hard and setting an example for other children in Haiti about how important education is on the path to success. In Maglande’s words: “I thank so much Restavek Freedom who helps me and I love my advocate Mathia. I believe that one day I can become an important person in my country and the whole world because I found the opportunity to go to school. I now have hope for myself and my family.”
You can help more children just like Maglande by sponsoring a child from Restavek Freedom’s Child Advocacy Program here.
*Child’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.