Response. Relief. Renewal.
Our grassroots approach involves an active, experienced, on-the-ground presence with a focus on providing the resources, processes and tools required to empower local people and groups to take an active role in the renewal and strengthening of their own communities. In addition, we are committed to bridging the gap between individuals who are willing to help and organizations that can effect change. Central to that commitment is the notion that communication, information, and strategic partnerships are vital for strengthening local communities in their renewal.
Communitere has been on the ground in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. We look forward to sharing how Haiti Communitere has supported the recovery efforts and how our renewal efforts continue to make a difference.
When disaster strikes, Communitere responds. Haiti Communitere was established immediately after the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Our assessment teams worked with community members and organizations to provide immediate emergency services and support.
Communitere launched location specific relief programs that fostered connectivity and the establishment of aid that was truly needed by the local community. Our programs filled gaps in humanitarian assistance and promoted sustainable resource use.
Communitere is currently in the Renewal phase in Haiti. In this phase, Haiti Communitere helps create lasting infrastructures designed to be used and maintained by local communities. We support community members in renewing their communities with their own ideas and goals, ultimately strengthening Haitian civil society through a bottom-up approach to development. We also provide the space for local, national and international groups and organizations that require the resources and a physical location to work with the local community to support their renewal.
Executive Director, Communitere International
Sam Bloch has devoted the past decade to post-disaster relief in Thailand, Peru, Cuba, Haiti and the Philippines. As the founder of Communitere, Sam has created an innovative, community-focused disaster response model that diverges radically from the “cookie cutter” methodology of the international community.
Instead, Communitere provides an active, experienced, on-the-ground presence that focuses on providing the resources, processes and tools needed to help the affected community take an active role in the renewal of their own community.
And Sam “walks his talk”: for seven of the past ten years, Sam has lived full time in these disaster-affected communities including Haiti, the Philippines and Nepal, working in partnership with the people as they rebuild.
Louino ‘Robi’ Robillard was born in rural northern Haiti but was raised in Cite Soleil, a marginalized neighborhood in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Despite the many challenges of growing up in this neighborhood, he completed his primary and secondary school in Cite Soleil. He then went on to study Community Management at the GRIDE program, and eventually received his Master’s in Applied Community Change and Peacebuilding from the Future Generations Graduate School. Robi has worked for the International Organization on Migration, Miyamoto Relief, and DloHaiti; he currently works for Future Generations Haiti.
Robi has been active in community mobilization and social change since he was in high school. In 2011, he helped to co-found the social movement Konbit Soley Leve, which brings people together from across Cite Soleil for positive community change. He advises dozens of community-based organizations across Cite Soleil and all over Haiti. He is also on the board of Lakou Lape, SAKALA, and Konbit Mizik.
While his focus is mostly peace-building and community empowerment, Robi has a great commitment to reforestation. He and his wife Sabina are establishing a small forest in his hometown of St. Raphael, which also serves as a community park. He is an advocate of konbit, a traditional Haitian practice that represents solidarity and reciprocity, and the idea that Haitians can do more if they work together to take control of their destinies.
John Engles is a co-founder and co-director of Haiti Partners and has lived in Haiti since 1991. He co-founded Beyond Borders and its Haiti-based partner organization, Fondasyon Limyè Lavi, in 1993. He has consulted for the World Bank, USAID and others on collaborative leadership.
In May 2013, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from WorldBlu for his work in Haiti promoting democratic practice and freedom centered leadership. He and his wife Merline, who is Haitian, have two children.
Jean has been working in development since 2006. He began as a counselor and educator in sexual behavior and reproductive health. He currently holds a certification as a technician for Soil Conservation and Reforestation with MARNDR (Ministere de l’agriculture des Ressources Naturelles et du Developpement Rural) in Cap Haitian, Limbé. Lucho also holds a degree in agro-tourism/landscape architectural design with a specialization in nursery design and composting.
Lucho was the Country Director for Patricia Arquette’s organization, Give Love, managing the Humanure Composting Program. He also provided technical support for Habitat for Humanity’s Humanure project for 300 families in Leogane. His experience in Haiti took him to Nicaragua to evaluate and demonstrate the Ecosan pilot project for Water Aid and Blue Energy/Nicaragua. Jean is currently studying law at EDSEG.
Luc always knew he would work towards the development of his country. His dream did not coincide with perspectives of many of the Haitian politicians, however, but he soon realized his dream as he began working in community activities. In 2006, assisted by youths from Cite Soleil, RAJEPRE School was born in Bois Neuf (a neighborhood in Cite Soleil). RAJEPRE offers training to youth in Leadership and Community Engagement, Entrepreneurship, and Education, including citizenship, pedagogy, and classroom management.
Luc is an Executive Committee member of a network of 260 community organizations within Cite Soleil that creates awareness, mentors community members and looks for solutions for local problems. He is an extremely active community member and is involved with groups such as Konbit Soley Leve, a movement for change in Cite Soleil, as well as a member of Haiti Communitere Roundtable, a member of Wozo Ayiti of Future Generatons, and the Volunteer Director for Project Hope Art.
Jesse is the founder and Executive Director of Project 509, a clean water access initiative in remote mountain areas of Haiti, and a long-time affiliate of Haiti Communitere; as such, he has an in-depth understanding of the history, process, and impact of Haiti Communitere. He holds a PhD in Environmental Policy, with an emphasis on international development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Jesse has consulted on a number of sustainability projects in both the private and public sectors, led expeditions throughout Central and South America, as well as Haiti and Antarctica, and recently made the decision to step away from a career in academia to resume practically applied work in the field, where his efforts have a more immediate impact.
When not running the show at Haiti Communitere, Jesse can be found working in mountain villages near Pik La Sel – Haiti’s highest peak – riding his motorcycle in the countryside, and drinking ice cold Prestige … not necessarily in that order.
Creighton, a native of Texas, received his bachelor degree in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs with an emphasis in Political Communication from Southern Methodist University … then immediately realized that he wanted nothing to do with the world of American politics. He spent the next four years traveling, experiencing other cultures, and redefining his worldview while managing restaurants and music venues to make ends meet.
While the humanitarian sector is something he envisioned on his horizon, a tornado that struck his family’s home in December 2015 was the catalyst for him to get involved. He began working with Haiti Communitere as our Hospitality Coordinator in early 2016 and recently returned as our Operations Director.
In his spare time, Creighton thrives on chatting with whoever is sitting next to him, listening to Bill Withers, and wearing clothes his grandmother made for him.
Resource Center Support.
Bertran started taking care of our plants and green spaces in 2013. He comes three times a week and is one of the hardest working people we know. Betran loves the green plants and works hard to protect them from burning in the sun. Bertran is the father of four girls who are 11, 10, 8 and 6 years old.
Brutus joined our security team in 2010. He loves to laugh and sing … in fact, he would have loved to have become a professional singer! He is a wonderful host to the people staying on base or visiting the Resource Center. In addition, he enjoys teaching international volunteers Creole words and loves to learn English words in return. When we asked him what he really likes, he answered immediately: his family.
Caroline brought her cheerfulness and accounting skills to Haiti Communitere in 2013. She loves to learn and is a student at the English In Mind Institute (EIM). Caroline has a great sense of humor, patience for days and loves to practice her English.
Charles was one of the first people to join our team when he started working at Haiti Communitere in July 2010. He works the night shift at our gate and is a solid rock in our everyday fast paced schedules. Charles loves riding his bike to work but still dreams of upgrading his ride to a motorcycle someday. His favorite month of the year is July because that’s when he celebrates his birthday.
As the eldest of six brothers, Fritz has taken on the responsibility for the care of his family and the support of his siblings as they pursue their education. Fritz is incredibly reliable and is always available ot lend a helping hand wherever needed. Before the earthquake, Fritz was a professional hairdresser, a vocation he always loved. Don’t hesitate to ask him to set up an appointment if you need a cut or style!
Guerline joined our team in 2013. She makes sure our rooms are clean and our sheets smell like flowers. Her unconditional smile and never ending cheerfulness contribute so much to everyone else having a great day. At home, Guerline takes care of her 13-year-old son, Guerson, whose name -like hers- means “warrior.”
Resource Center Support.
Macken started working with Haiti Communitere in June 2011. He comes once a week to help us keep our Resource Center in good shape. Mackenson is our resident philosopher and is always ready to spark up a lively discussion on ethics, Haiti’s future or personal development. When asked about one thing that he really cares about, Macken answered, simply, “life.”
Rigaud started working with us in July 2010. He likes to talk to visitors and guests who come to the Resource Center to find out about their ongoing projects. Learning from our visitors, he says, has given him important insights and communication and public relations. While Rigaud says he would love to see different countries, he will always return to Haiti.
Samuel has been an essential part of Haiti Communitere since 2011. Samuel cares so much about his work that we sometimes joke that he is actually married to Haiti Communitere. Everyday, Samuel sets the optimistic tone during our morning meetings and makes sure the Resource Center runs as smoothly as possible. We know that his is not an easy job and are impressed with Samuel’s continuing cheerfulness and resourcefulness.
Yasmine has one of the most important jobs on base: feeding eager and hungry volunteers and employees! Fifteen extra people for dinner? Not a reason to freak out for this patient, resourceful and skilled team member. Her hometown is les Cayes, where her son Clifford still lives today. Yasmine loves to learn new recipes and to go to the church next door.