CHEDEVE is the Haitian Creole word for “masterpiece” and in our case, is also an acronym for “Cercle Haitien pour L’epanouissement et le Developpement Educatif”. In English it translates to “Haitian Circle for Self-fulfillment and Educational Development.”
The CHEDEVE team is comprised of young men and women who volunteer themselves in order to make a difference in their community. They have become the example of leadership in the area of Fontamara, a zone of Port-au-Prince, and are looked up to by all in the community.
Before we started, many of our leaders and team members were looking for ways to get visas so they could leave Haiti and go work elsewhere so they could send money back home. They really would have preferred to stay and make things work at home, and they chose to make Kledèv and CHEDEVE their reason to do so.
When they started out, they didn’t exactly know what they wanted to do, and everything was needed, so they took to the neighborhood and asked, “If we could only make one change, what would be the most important thing to address?” The resounding answer was, “Something to keep the boys from joining gangs.” So they started with a soccer program to give 70 boys and young men something constructive to focus on, as many came from families who could not afford to send them to school. For more on this successful program, now in its fifth year, see CHEDEVE Soccer & Leadership Program.
CHEDEVE members have created many programs and projects not featured here, but what can be said is that there was always an element of empowerment combined with compassion, whether they’re serving a one-day art program or running a series of Cholera Information presentations, giving out school supplies to hundreds of kids, or simply being positive influences for kids growing up in an impoverished situation. The members of CHEDEVE are awesome!
Our organization has been 100% volunteer. With only a few emergency stipends given to support staff when they really needed it, many of our team members still struggle with the circumstances of no jobs and low cash flow. As we increase our fund raising efforts, a miracle would be to convert many volunteer team members to paid staff to acknowledge their years of service. If you are reading this and would like to contribute toward that:
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CHEDEVE started as and still is a program of Kledèv, but is well on it’s way to becoming an officially recognized Haitian organization. It’s rewarding to nurture something over time, through thick and thin, and have the kind of results we’re seeing as this community forms around CHEDEVE.
Photo is of Stevenson Mecredi, one of the kids in CHEDEVE Soccer & Leadership Program.