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Marleine Bastien - FANM CEO - Fritay Foundation Award Recipient

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Marleine Bastien, who received the Community Achievement Award, is talking to KozeAyiti. Here is her full interview. Good evening. Today is Saturday June 12. We are here at Little Haiti Cultural Center. Fritay organized a fundraising diner to celebrate several active members of the community. We met with Marleine Bastien, a very productive woman who has been working tirelessly for this community for many years. We will be asking Marleine a few questions. Good evening! It's a great pleasure to have you here tonight with Koze Ayiti. I noticed that you received an "award", the Community Achievement Award. Tell me about the circumstances surrounding this award. What are your activities in the community? What is your relationship with Fritay Foundation? Marleine Bastien: Thank you. I am very proud and honored to receive this award tonight. Fritay Foundation, as you said Yanick, gave me that award for my work at the Community Center FANM: Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami/Haitian Women of Miami. As you know, FANM is a non profit organization that has been organizing this community since 1991. We implemented three programs: Mental Health which is a program supporting Haitian Families and making them stronger; helping them find their balance and adjust. We know families are the back bone of society. Strong families create a strong society. We really emphasize on families because families are important. They are the foundation of any society. At FANM, we also have a legal program. It's a legal clinic helping people with immigration status issues. In addition, we have classes: parenting classes; child abuse and domestic violence. We have classes for both the victims and the users. We also implemented an economic development program for businesses in this area. We provide them with technical support and enable them to be competitive. I think that's the reason why Fritay Foundation gave me that award because I am advocating for families and immigrants. It's amazing to see that: Fritay is an organization with young leaders doing great things for the young people. So, I am very happy, grateful. I want to say "Thank you" for this award. Yanick Landess continues: Can you tell me about FANM after the earthquake? And are you involved in the activities that are being implemented after January 12 ? Marleine Bastien: Yes, Haitian Women of Miami/Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami (FANM) has been deeply involved in organizing relief efforts for Haiti. We know our people are living the most difficult crisis in their life. Since 100 years, this is one of the biggest challenges we have ever faced. Yes, we organized relief. First, we carried emergency items to them such as food, water, medicine, medical equipment. It was very important first to carry those emergency care items. We made two trips to Haiti and we were very inspired by the people of Haiti when we saw their courage and determination. It's very important for us to come back here, get people organized and help. What are we doing now? we created a group inside FANM called "Women, we will rebuild" Yanick Landess: Would you please repeat the name of the group? - Marleine Bastien: "Women, we will rebuild Haiti. Yanick: "Women, we will rebuild Haiti". OK. Marleine: This means, we the women, we will be able to rebuild Haiti. We say "Women" Yanick, but you know what we mean. It doesn't mean: no men involved! We say "Women" to empower them. In reality, the whole family is involved and benefit. Yanick: What you are saying is: Women are a pole, a center-piece. Marleine: That's correct. Maleine: When we speak about the women, we are also speaking about the men. When we see a woman, we see everyone. We see a whole family. We hear the voices of all the people: boys and girls, brothers and sisters, husbands, fianc├ęs, everyone is heard. When we speak of the women, we do not exclude anyone. Au contraire, we are inclusive, everyone counts. We are getting organized and we are trying to see how to help more and help our brothers and sisters in Haiti help themselves. We know it was important in the wake of the earthquake to bring food and medicine. But it's more important now to help them get organized, help them help themselves and sustain for a the long time. For example, develop agriculture, help Haiti come back, invest in agriculture, invest in infrastructure everywhere in the country. That's why we are giving them tools to help them develop and transform their own community. That's what we do here at FANM. We don't believe that giving all the time is the solution. In a crisis, it's OK to give for relief. But, most importantly, we believe in empowerment. We believe we achieve more when we provide people with the tools they need to make the change they wants and transform their community, their neighborhoods, their areas, their villages, their mountains, etc. That's our belief. Yanick Landess: Marleine Bastien, what's your last word? Do you want to give a general advice to the viewers of KozeAyiti? Marleine Bastien: My last word? I want to encourage all the people who are watching this program to contact us at FANM and join the group: "Women We will Rebuild Haiti". We believe it's extremely important to volunteer. To finish, I also want to think you Yanick and your husband, Tod. (Yanick replied: it's our pleasure!) Marleine: Thank you for this program "KozeAyiti" that you created. And speaking of volunteerism, I was volunteer of the year for Miami Dade County in 1994. Yanick: Congratulations! Marleine: Yes and I know you too, you volunteer a lot of your time working in the community. Yanick Landess: Congratulations again on your award: "Community Achievement Award". Marleine Bastien. That's correct. But I want to repeat what I just said: you do a lot of volunteerism in the community. I want to congratulate you because you are very humble. You don't talk about it. I believe it's important for a community to have people like you. You are a strong woman and you do a lot.... Yanick: "It's my pleasure to do that... It's called: Give back to the community." Yanick continues: "This community invested in me and supported me when I needed help. Now it's my turn to give and help people". Marleine Bastien: That's correct. We love you, Yanick. -We love you too, Marleine. Thank you for this interview. This is KozeAyiti interviewing Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of Fanm Ayisyen nan Miyami/Haitian Women of Miami. Translated in English by: Yanick Landess

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 43 seconds
Year: 2010
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Kozeayiti.org
Director: Tod Landess, Head of Production
Views: 152
Posted by: koze on Aug 10, 2010

After the June 12, 2010 Fritay Foundation Banquet, KozeAyiti reporter Yanick Landess interviewed, Marleine Bastien, Founder and Chief Executive Director of Haitian Women of Miami (FANM). Ms. Bastien was honored by Fritay Foundation with the Community Achievement Award for her social work and activism in South Florida.

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