söndag, maj 09, 2010

Update on Haiti: - When I do the breathing exercises, I forget that I sleep on the streets.

Hey guys!
Here's an update from Haiti! Please pass it along!

"I lost my house, so I stay on the streets with my husband and my children. It’s so difficult now to sleep at night with the rains, and it’s so stressful… When I do the breathing exercises, I forget that I sleep on the streets. It’s like I have no difficulties in my life. I finally feel that I have a clear mind. I feel calm. I am able to think.” – Maila Villard, age 41, Port au Prince. Art of Living Course participant.

April 12-28, IAHV launched a pilot program for the Nouvelle Vie Youth Corps (www.nouvelleviehaiti.org ). Sixteen of our strongest Haitian youth leaders were selected from 5 regions of Haiti out of a pool of 350 graduates of our previously-trained YLTP graduates. Four Art of Living teachers joined them - David Trottier, Patrick Milot, Meenakshi Srinivasan, and Ralph Matta – along with Nouvelle Vie’s program advisor and permaculturist Josh Tosteson.

In just 16 days, the team taught 7 Art of Living courses to nearly 350 people living on the streets, in camps, and in makeshift shelters. About 1,000 people took the shorter Breath Water Sound course, including orphaned children, rape victims, and youth from Cite Soleil, the most violent slum in Haiti. The team also taught communities how to compost and develop food gardens, creating greater self-reliance for basic food needs. The benefits of the programs quickly spread in camps and among our partner community organizations.

The JPHRO Petionville Golf Club refugee camp holds 40,000 earthquake victims living in makeshift tents. On this camp, the Nouvelle Vie team taught 360 people the Breath Water Sound and 240 the Art of Living Course. As part of their course, participants initiated a camp-wide clean-up. The simple act of picking up trash created a sense of dignity and ownership over their lives for the participants.

“Things have completely changed in the communities where we teach. Through the breath, people see what is their true nature, their true existence. When they do the breathing, there’s a total silence. It’s like the world is no longer the same. It’s totally changed the mentality [of the people we teach], their way of thinking, their way of acting. Wow.” – 
Samson Berlus, age 20, Les Cayes, Haiti. Candidate for Nouvelle Vie Youth Corps.

The Nouvelle Vie Youth Corps will train 20 youth leaders as Art of Living teachers and Permaculture (sustainable agriculture) designers and trainers. The Youth Corps will serve Haitian communities for two years, spreading community empowerment and sustainable development solutions. (www.nouvelleviehaiti.org )

How You Can Help:

The Nouvelle Vie team is actively seeking volunteers to help raise funding and awareness to launch our program. We especially seek volunteers with experience in: marketing, media, fundraising, grantwriting, social media, video editing, and writing. We are also seeking contacts with corporate and philanthropic foundations and philanthropic individuals. Knowledge of French a plus.

Contact: Uma Viswanathan, Nouvelle Vie Program Director, uma.viswanathan@iahv.org

Uma Viswanathan
Program Director, Nouvelle Vie Haiti
International Association for Human Values
(617) 645-1428

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