Almost two years ago, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake that would shake the foundations of this proud nation. Today, Haiti still struggles and development is moving along like a snail’s pace. Having recently talked a fellow professor who visited Haiti, he stated that progress is at a standstill.
Fortunately there are many people and organizations who have not forgotten. Haiti in Transition is one of those. I received an email from Shaïna Silva who serves as the Program Development Officer. She informed The Chess Drum about the new initiative to help strengthen the social resolve of the youth in Haiti. She sent this message:
I am a co-founder of an organization called “Haiti in Transition”, and we have been doing some amazing work in Haiti with the youth and chess! We are a group of young Haitians living abroad, that are connecting with Haitian youth living in Haiti in an effort to increase the youth engagement in the development of the nation. Our ultimate goal is to project a more positive image of Haiti through the engagement of its youth! It’s a tough job, but we are tired of hearing all the negative things the media has to say, so we are taking on this initiative in full force!
We have started with a program that will organize the youth into a network of youth-led community councils. The network will include youth from all the different parts of the country, not just the popular Port au Prince. The program uses chess and art to get the youth thinking differently about themselves, their community, their environment. Through the game of chess, we are reinforcing the idea of accountability for one’s actions, setting goals, thinking strategically and thinking ahead, and learning from mistakes. Through the arts we are teaching them about personal image and community image (we don’t like being labeled the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and it does affect us… and we are working to change that). We started the program this summer with our first neighborhood, and it was a great success!
I am writing to you in hopes that you would care to share our story with your blog followers and/or facebook fans….as they are people in the chess world that may take an interest in what we are doing…
Our blog is haitiintransition.tumblr.com, our website is hitmovement.org, and our facebookpage is https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002261573009 On there we have been posting updates on our experience in Haiti.