Mr Pascal Raffy, owner of Bovet 1822, was welcomed by friends from partner foundation Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) on April 24th for his first trip to Haiti.
In December 2013 following several successful fundraising events together, Bovet and APJ made an official partnership, inking an agreement to further strengthen the bond between the two passionate, inspiring and effective organizations in order to continue delivering the best possible programs for disadvantaged Haitian children. After forging such a meaningful relationship, Mr Raffy was eager to join APJ to see first-hand what this extraordinary commitment has made possible for the students.
In Haiti, one in eight children will not live to reach age five, the life expectancy if born healthy is sixty-three, the literacy rate is 45%, unemployment is 40%, and those who are lucky enough to be employed earn an average of $650 a year. Cité Soleil is the poorest area in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It is also where most of the APJ students live. APJ partner Father Rick Frechette of the St Luke Foundation led a tour through the slum area that he and his team are working tirelessly to restore and revitalize. Mr Raffy asked to take a longer walk through the community and started shaking hands, hugging, listening intently to the stories of the people he met, and looking into their eyes.
As the sun started to set and the first night came to a close Mr Raffy joined Father Rick for dinner at the St Luke with his team and APJ board member and actress Madeleine Stowe. Mr Raffy reflected, “As a father, the most difficult experience today were the children who told me they are hungry. Instead of a million people going through enormous organizations, change has to be direct. Direct contact between charitable donations and people. Voilà”
The next day began with a trip to the Academy for Peace and Justice where Mr Raffy had the opportunity to meet the headmaster, tour the facilities, visit the classroom named in his honor and hold a lively question and answer session with students for over an hour. Concluding the trip was a visit to Artists Institute where Mr Raffy was able to discover this campus as well and had the opportunity to watch new student films and visit Audio Institute’s brand new recording studio.
A proud partnership has been created between Bovet and Artist’s for Peace and Justice with a commitment of 5 million dollars over the next 5 years. Now it will continue with even more conviction following Mr Raffy’s trip to Haiti where he met the children so in need of the school that supports their future.