Gessica Geneus Amb

Haitian Filmmaker Gessica Généus Named as Ayiti Demen Ambassador

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Haitian Filmmaker Gessica Généus Named as Ayiti Demen Ambassador

July 25, 2022 | Ayiti Demen

Gessica Geneus Amb

NEW YORK, NY. – Ayiti Demen’s board has selected acclaimed Haitian filmmaker Gessica Généus as the organization’s goodwill ambassador. In this role, Gessica will help communicate to people around the world the work Ayiti Demen is doing to improve lives in Haiti.

“Our work is more important than ever as the country is facing enormous problems. We need fresh voices carrying out new visions of the future,” says Michèle Pierre-Louis, Ayiti Demen’s board chairperson. “And Gessica is a shining example of what young Haitians can do to make things better. We are very proud that she joins our cause.”

“Using my platform to promote an organization like Ayiti Demen aligns with what I stand for,” says Gessica. “That means leveraging my social media presence to highlight some excellent and honest work happening in Haiti. And Ayiti Demen is a particularly worthwhile initiative to me, and I am very comfortable endorsing it.” 

Gessica’s collaboration with Ayiti Demen is not a new one. After a devastating earthquake hit the southern part of Haiti last year, she held a screening event for her film, Freda, and donated 50% of the proceeds to the FOKAL Haiti Relief Fund, a fundraising effort led by the Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty (FOKAL) and Ayiti Demen.  

“Gessica embodies the vision of Haitian youth we are promoting at Ayiti Demen. She is dynamic, competent, and committed,” says Yvens Rumbold, Ayiti Demen’s executive director. “An important part of Ayiti Demen’s mission is to help globally change the narrative about Haiti to something that values the courage and dignity of its people. Gessica has long championed that cause, especially through her latest film Freda which has received a lot of publicity worldwide.”

Gessica Généus is an award-winning actress and filmmaker. She began her career at 17 years old, starring in many film roles in Haitian and foreign productions. She later attended film school in Paris and founded Ayizan Productions, a film production company. Her feature films The Day Will Dawn (2017) and Freda (2021) continue to be shown around the world.

Founded in 2007 to support FOKAL’s work, Ayiti Demen is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the State of New York. Its mission is to improve lives in Haiti by empowering local communities and supporting FOKAL’s partners such as grassroots organizations working in education, art & culture, and sustainable development in Haiti.

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Anaïse Hector

How a Young Artist Finds her Way Through Painting at Le Centre d’Art in Haiti

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How a Young Artist Finds her Way Through Painting at Le Centre d’Art in Haiti

July 08, 2022 | Ayiti Demen

Like many emerging artists in Haiti, Anaïse Hector relies on Le Centre d’Art’s free-of-charge resources and low-cost educational programs to hone her craft and build a career in visuals arts.

Anaïse Hector
Anaïse Hector, an emerging visual artist who is an active participant in Le Centre d’Art arts education program.
Photo by Yves-Osner Dorvil

Anaïse Hector, 21, is an artist at heart. She was exposed to art very early as her father used to make her watercolors full of magic. “I found the way he played with the colors fascinating,” she says. Her passion grew even more during high school years when she attended various drawing classes. But it was not until 2018 when she joined Le Centre d’Art –a vibrant hub of Haitian arts and artists located in the nation’s capital– that she became convinced of her creative potential. “I realized that art is not just a hobby for me but a form of expression, and that’s what I want to do. So I want to dedicate more time to my craft,” says Anaïse, also a psychology student. Her primary artistic activity is painting; at times, she can also get her hands on collage and sculpture. The dominant theme of her work is femininity, aiming “to free women’s body image from social norms.”

It is not easy to juggle school, art, and social life being so young, but Anaïse manages and stays focused. The biggest challenge, however, that comes her way is inadequate finances to procure painting supplies, which are very expensive for most emerging talents with low or no income. Le Centre d’Art, since its reopening in 2015, has offered a creative space, workshops, and art materials to more than 800 artists based in disciplines ranging from drawing, painting, sculpture, or even photography. “That helps me a lot when Le Centre d’Art gives me painting materials,” Anaïse says. 

One of Anaïse’s favorite parts of being part of Le Centre d’Art is the opportunity to receive mentorship from some of Haiti’s elite artists like Mario Benjamin, Tessa Mars, and Pascale Monin. “Being around them and learning from them is a big deal and an honor for me,” she said. A highlight of her journey was the moment veteran Haitian sculptor Lionel St Eloi told her while working on a painting at Le Centre d’Art facilities, “You’ll become a great artist.” That is the kind of message of hope and confidence any young artist needs to hear.

"I used to be the only woman to participate in the art workshops, but that is no longer the case."

– Anaïse Hector

Despite the daily crises raging in the country in recent years, Anaïse is hopeful for the future. She is particularly excited to see a more significant feminine presence in the art landscape. “I used to be the only woman to participate in the art workshops, but that is no longer the case” she says. The recent all-female art exhibition, Vives, hosted by Le Centre d’Art in early 2022, brought her much motivation and inspiration. Ultimately, she wishes for “more growth in the art market in Haïti so that artists can make a living entirely from their artwork.

When we give, we give big

FOKAL won the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity 2022

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FOKAL won the Zayed Award for Human Fraternity 2022

APRIL 14, 2022 | Ayiti Demen

FOKAL’s work is  “a shining example of implementing the principle of human fraternity,” noted one of the jury members.

This prestigious recognition provides further confidence that The Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty (FOKAL) “plays a vital role in shaping the lives of the local youth and supporting hard-working communities at the grassroots level,” read a statement from the organization behind the Zayed award.

“The prize came as a big surprise,” said Michèle Pierre-Louis, FOKAL’s president and  Ayiti Demen’s board chair. In a video broadcast during the ceremony on Feb 28, 2022, she emphasizes FOKAL’s commitment to improving the lives of Haitians. “You can sense the solidarity that exists among them. You can sense also the precariousness in which they are living. And that’s why the support we give to those communities is so important to us.”

FOKAL is a private foundation established in 1995 in Haiti. It has several programs in education, development, and arts and culture, which it runs cooperatively with the local organizations. Our fundraising efforts at Ayiti Demen provide much-needed financial support to many of the FOKAL’s programs.

By receiving the 2022 Zayed Award for Human Fraternity, shared with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, FOKAL joins the shortlist of outstanding recipients such as Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, and Antonio Gúterres, the Secretary-general of the United Nations. A monetary prize of $1 million dollars is given to the awardees.

When we give, we give big