Young Haitians make friends over sports, earrings and pineapple jam |

Around 1500 young people came together at the Seman’s Lape (Seeds of Peace) project event supported by the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

Craft products, including earrings, are on display at a youth event in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

UN Haiti/Jonathan Boulet-Groulx

Craft products, including earrings, are on display at a youth event in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Rosemonde* (23 years)

“I live in Cite Soleil which is gang controlled. There’s only one street in my neighborhood, and it’s often flooded or full of trash, so it’s difficult to participate in outside activities.

My mom isn’t home right now and I’m the eldest of six children, so I’m doing what I can to take care of my family. I don’t feel good where I live.

“I make crafts, like earrings. When I participate in activities at these large gatherings, I can talk to people, I can live and act normally. I come here to enjoy life.

I wish my neighborhood was like this, I wish it was peaceful.”

Young entrepreneurs show their products at a youth event in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

UN Haiti/Jonathan Boulet-Groulx

Young entrepreneurs show their products at a youth event in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Samentha (22)

“I’m an entrepreneur. I produce jelly, peanut butter and other products at my home in Saint Martin. I learned that in a training course. I’d love to sell in local stores, but to do that I need more investment. So, right now I’m selling from my house.

Young people in Haiti want to get ahead, but it is difficult to get help, especially when there is no functioning social support system

Young people are very stressed so I think it’s good to bring them together for activities like this as it can help them see that they are not so different from people who live in other neighborhoods.

The situation has been getting worse for a few months, but still I think I can inspire other young people to make progress. I believe in myself very much. I am a leader to my family.”

Young Haitian women and men take part in a youth sports event in Port-au-Prince

Young Haitian women and men take part in a youth sports event in Port-au-Prince

Even (19)

Young people, including my three sisters who have finished school, spend most of their time at home with nothing to do. These activities, which include training, are important because they help us move forward. Of course it’s good to spend time with other young people.

I love doing sports. I was strong and competitive even when I was little and that still spurs me on to do my best.

My dream for other young people is that they see their life the way I see my life. This means they are more focused on their work, on what they need to learn. I always encourage them to make an effort.

One of my dreams is that I want to travel after school, discover other countries, but now that’s not possible.”

Joseph, is one of 1,500 young men and women who attended the event in Port-au-Prince

UN Haiti/Jonathan Boulet-Groulx

Joseph, is one of 1,500 young men and women who attended the event in Port-au-Prince

Joseph (21)

“Life in Haiti is very difficult now, due to insecurity, political instability and the fuel crisis. According to my grandfather, life wasn’t like that before. It gets harder every year.

An activity like this is very important as it helps young people to connect and see their true worth. The country needs more leisure activities.

That Seman’s Lape Projekt trained me and now I am an entrepreneur. I am also a student. I was already selling chocolate before the project, but now I’ve taken my business to a new level and the products are nicer and better presented. My shop is called Happy Choco. I see myself as an entrepreneur and that’s why the school is important to me.

Dancers perform at a youth event in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

UN Haiti/Jonathan Boulet-Groulx

Dancers perform at a youth event in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Miranda (19)

“The situation at home in Cite Lumière is so difficult. Of course there is violence, but even when it rains the floods are very bad. Life has never been easy, but it has never been that bad. It’s difficult for my friends , to visit me .

A lot of people judge us because we’re from this part of town. Everyone can have a good life. Most people who are subjected to violence are innocent.

This activity allows us to make small talk and get updates. It is really important. I love dancing and our neighborhood put on a show here. I think it would be better if these activities could happen more often.

My dream is to go to university, become an accountant and continue to dance at a professional level. But it’s hard and we don’t have the means to continue our education. We can say that this is the problem that most young people have here. Many of us have talent and intelligence, but we cannot use them to our advantage.

Today’s activity can change everyone’s attitude towards young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods.”

FACT BOX:

That Seman’s Lape The project is funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and implemented by Concern Worldwide in collaboration with national NGOs Lakou Lapè and Sakala.

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