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Ayiti Resurrect is a collaboration of visionary artists, community builders, holistic healers, and sustainable farmers from Komye (Leogane, Haiti) and the Haitian and African Diasporas. We came together in the spirit of friendship and people-to-people solidarity in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake to support the social, spiritual, emotional, physical, and environmental health of a rural community in Leogane.
Our aim is to cultivate genuine people-to-people solidarity among African heritage people while reinforcing the strength and autonomy of Haitian residents. Our initiatives focus on arts, education, health, the environment, and women’s self-determination with the goal to transform trauma through collective healing, and contribute to building a more just and sustainable existence for the future generations of Komye residents.
A year after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010,millions of displaced people continued to live in impossible conditions. With the vast majority of quake survivors still struggling to secure humane living conditions and basic needs, the necessary grieving process for the 300,000 people that perished,compounded by the loss of homes and livelihoods, was interrupted by the sheer need for survival. Recognizing mental health as a human right instrumental to the health of the community, Ayiti Resurrect formed as a grassroots collective to support the psychological and spiritual healing of Haiti’s quake-survivors based on principles of solidarity, creativity, and collective resilience.
Ayiti Resurrect conducted its first delegation coinciding with the one year anniversary of the earthquake, devoted to supporting survivors in releasing grief, reclaiming control of their lives, and transforming the problems they face. We collaborated with Ayiti Cherie Healing Project, local Haitian organizations, and community partners to conduct art therapy workshops, implement a mental wellness clinic, host a commemoration and create a monument to honor those who passed in the earthquake (read more).
The following year the project grew to 20 Ayiti Resurrect delegates from across the diaspora— from Brooklyn to Oakland, Port au Prince to Mirebalais. In partnership with local healers, artists, farmers and community organizers we implemented a Mental Wellness & Stress Relief clinic, initiated an environmental sustainability education project, and facilitated art and music therapy workshops with and for quake survivors.
Offerings included: Recycled Arts and Crafts, Performance Art and Poetry, Mask Making, Story-telling, Theatre, Instrument-making, Drumming, Yoga and Meditation, Dance, Birthing and Reproductive Health workshops, Self-Esteem Self-Care & Self-Love for Women, Herbal Medicine Walks, Tree Planting, Sustainable Agriculture Skill-Shares, Composting Toilet Construction, Solar Oven Building, Stone Sculpture, Holistic Healing Circles, Massage, Ra Sekhi and Reiki Services, Plant Medicine, and Peer to Peer Counseling (read more).
In 2013, Ayiti Resurrect returned to Komye to implement a reforestation project in partnership with Tech Valley High School and Green Haiti. Eight high school students from NY teamed up with numerous community volunteers from Komye planting 1,000 fruit trees to provide shade, erosion control, water purification, pollution reduction, and income to the community. We also planted vetiver to help stop erosion and retain water, and created a food forest permaculture model garden (read more).
In 2014, Ayiti Resurrect delegates teamed up with numerous healers, artists, farmers, and community organizers in Komye (Leogane, Haiti) to implement health and dental clinics, facilitate arts and sustainability workshops at the local school, lead herbal medicine classes, women’s empowerment circles, sexual health and reproductive justice dialogs, community workshops (i.e. yoga, percussion, song, children’s field games, sculpture, photography), and peer-to-peer artist skill shares. Together we also commemorated the 4th anniversary of the earthquake, produced a community concert and cultural celebration, built a solar mango dryer, and weeded and gave compost and water to hundreds of tree seedlings planted last year.
In 2015, our Haitian and Diasporic team planted hundreds of moringa trees, trained community members in water sanitation methods, hosted a free natural wellness clinic over 2 days, co-coordinated an artist exhibition, offered health education, held workshops for women around sexuality, entrepreneurship and computer literacy, planted medicinal plants in a community herb garden, led Black Pride workshops in the local school, distributed $2,000 in scholarships to students and material donations to teachers, farmers, artists and healers, and seeded ongoing projects related to water access and natural health care.
Ayiti Resurrect is committed to continuing a relationship of support and solidarity with our growing family in Komye! A delegation will return to Haiti at least once a year to facilitate collaborative projects determined by Komye residents that focus on social, spiritual, emotional, physical, and environmental health.
Thanks for bearing witness and contributing to this vision for collective healing, self-determination, inter-diasporic collaboration, and community empowerment! Get involved
Photo Credits: Tod Seele, Adaku Utah, and Naima Penniman