Haiti

Located in Port-au-Prince | Founded in February 2013 | 40 Youth served ages 15-25 

“Your traditions are very important. It’s like you forget who you are if you don’t know your traditions. We are losing our traditions. They just don’t know their traditions. They like the hip hop – the dress – the talk – they are disconnected from their roots.”

Bois Gris

LI Teaching Artist, Boukman Eksperyans

Project Overview

LEAF International, Prosjekt Haiti (a Norwegian non-profit), and Boukman Eksperyans (a Haitian musical group) all partner together to implement and sustain the LI Haiti program. Twice a week, members of Boukman Eksperyans give drum and dance lessons to children in Project Haiti’s Youth Club, free of cost. These youth are extraordinary and dedicated. The long-term vision for the program is that they will eventually serve as music teachers for younger children. The youth perform in the community at least 4 times each year. Scroll to the bottom of the page to learn more about the Vision and Dream for this program.

The benefits of this program extend to the local community, including the drum maker commissioned to provide instruments and the women in the tailor shop Atelier Manman Troll (apart of Prosjekt Haiti), who will make costumes for the youth.

 

Impact

 Through the project, students gain:

  • Classes in drumming- drums are sacred in Haitian culture
  • Traditional dance classes
  • Reconnecting to local traditions
  • The opportunity to perform in the community
  • A one-mic recording studio
Meet the Teaching Artists

LSSYWBoukmanTeachBoy WEB For over 30 years, Boukman Eksperyans has been a powerful social voice for Haitians, and the musicians that make up the group Boukman Eksperyans have been active change agents in their community for decades. They embody and preserve Haitian traditions with grace and dedication. For years, they have dreamed of starting a cultural program with youth, and with the collaboration of LEAF International and Prosjekt Haiti, that dream is now a reality. The four main members of the Boukman Eksperyans serve as Teaching Artists for our Haiti program, including: Manze’ (Mimerose) Beaubrun, Lolo (Theodore) Beaubrun, Bois Gris “Hans Dominique,” Laura Beaubrun, and her husband Paul, Johanne Dejean. The primary teachers are Johanne Dejean, teaching dance, and Bois Gris, teaching Haitian drumming traditions.

To see Boukman Eksperyans in action, check out their 2013 Carnival Song “Piout Piout”

Meet the Students

LIHaitiBEDrumGalSmileThere are 40 young people in the program, ages 15-25. The students live nearby and walk to the program. If you met these students, you would never sense the real struggles of their lives. The youth come from poor backgrounds and their parents–many of whom cannot find work–struggle to find food for the families. Despite their circumstances, they are vibrant, talented, self-taught, driven, intelligent, kind, and they have dreams. This program allows these individuals to have an outlet in which to express themselves in an uplifting and constructive manner, and the students’ families are extremely happy about the creation of the program.

When asked what people from outside Haiti should know about the country, student Samual Ambriose said, “Haitians work hard, are talented, and are fun. Even amidst misery they can laugh.” 

 

The Program in Action!

LI Haiti Performs at May LEAF 2014

 

Long Term Vision

SUPPORT US

From music instruments to child sponsorships, our people-centered programs depend on generous givers like you to grow and thrive. Donate today! 100% of your gift goes directly to support music and arts education programs in the country of your choosing.

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 LIHaitiflag

Project Highlights

2014 

LI Haiti comes to May LEAF and shares in meaningful cultural exchange with LEAF Schools & Streets youth, Teaching Artists and our local community.

2013

LI Haiti begins!

2010
Carribean Traditions at LEAF

Festival Featured:
Boukman Eksperyans

Bonga & the Vodou Drums of Haiti


 

 

Our Partners

Prosjekt Haiti is an amazing community-driven organization. A model of service, the organization’s goal is to contribute to a better future for the people associated with their projects, and it continues to grow towards meeting the needs of families in Haiti. The program fosters leadership and has multi-generational community members, and has been creating a thriving supportive community in Port-au-Prince since 2000. Prosjekt Haiti believes that the best way of cultivating meaningful change is to provide people with knowledge and skills that enable them to improve their own situation. Prosjekt Haiti therefore focuses on education, capacity building and value creation.
Boukman Eksperyans is more than just a Grammy-nominated, Haitian-born band, but a platform for social change for their fellow Haitians. As a band, their music is a worldly, high-energy fusion of traditional Haitian and Caribbean rhythms with rock and reggae. As individuals, they are activists, and serve as the teaching artists for Haiti’s LEAF International and Prosjekt Haiti program.Content goes here
City Mac of Asheville has provided One Mic studio gifts in honor of Ben Gradison.
Haitian Culture and Community

Haiti is a state in the Caribbean and is situated on the same island as the Dominican Republic, Hispaniola. The Creole word for Haiti is “Ayiti” and means “the country with high mountains”. Haiti was the first free, black republic in the world following a successful slave revolt in 1804, ridding the country of the French colonists. The Capital of Haiti is Port-au-Prince. Both Creole and French are spoken in Haiti. The population is a little less than 10 million, and approximately 2.3 million people live in the capital. 80% of Haitians are Catholic, 16% are Protestant, 3% report as “other,” and half of the population also practices Vodou. According to 2003 data, 80% of the population is below poverty level. Haiti was tragically devasted by a major earthquake in 2010.

 
Learn about Haitian musical traditions here: LInat-geo-music