Hope On The Rise For Haiti's Youth Through Entrepreneurship, Meditation and Sustainability Development

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A new type of leadership is emerging for Haitian youth using meditation, innovation, sustainability training and trauma relief thanks to the efforts of Nouvelle Vie, a project of the International Association for Human Values.

“I'm learning to accept things and observe them with more wisdom and patience. Our training shows us how to gain self-respect and recognize our opportunities. I'm learning to work under pressure and to express myself.” Lovely Alcime, Youth Leader

With 70 percent of the Haitian population under the age of 30, Haiti’s youth are not the future of the country – they are responsible for its present. A lifetime of dependence on international aid and few professional or educational opportunities have left Haiti’s youth ill-prepared to rebuild a country fraught with some of the world’s most difficult environmental, economic, and social challenges.

Nouvelle Vie Haiti, a project of the International Association for Human Values, has been developing young Haitians as community leaders since 2007, preparing a new type of leadership rooted in service, innovation, and sustainability.

“The objective of Nouvelle Vie is to develop Haitian young adults to empower the community and provide trauma relief as well as solutions for sustainable community development through food security and waste-management projects. And it all starts with yoga, meditation, and the breath," explains Uma Viswanathan, the program's director. "The first step is to address the trauma, not just from the earthquake, but from a lifetime of poverty."

The Nouvelle Vie Youth Corps is a leadership and service corps that empowers a new generation of social entrepreneurs to address Haiti’s social, environmental and economic challenges. Through trauma relief and empowerment workshops, the Corps helps Haitians prepare themselves to take responsibility for transforming their communities and reduce symptoms of trauma, including grief, sadness, worry, and hopelessness, strengthening coping skills and support networks.

The Youth Corps also leads sustainable living programs, teaching Haitian communities how to grow their own local food and manage waste. "What we're gaining is really a revelation, completely contrary to what we've been taught at school, at church, at home. We are being taught to do, rather than just have ideas. We are learning how to surpass our socio-economic circumstances,” said Wilner Moncius, a Nouvelle Vie youth leader.

Contact Uma Viswanathan at Nouvelle Vie Haiti, Uma.viswanathan(at)iahv(dot)org or 617-645-1428.

nouvelleviehaiti.org

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