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V-Day's History of Work in Haiti

Photo: Paula Allen

In 2001 Myriam Merlet, Chief of Cabinet of the Ministry of Women's Condition and Rights and founder of the umbrella National Coordination for Advocacy on Women's Rights (CONAP), contacted V-Day to organize a large production of The Vagina Monologues in Port-au-Prince. Due to political turbulence at that time, the show never took place, but Myriam and V-Day continued to talk about making it a reality.

In 2007, Eve Ensler, traveled to Haiti on invitation from local activists to spend time on the ground to learn from women firsthand what their lives were like. During her time in Haiti, there were three sold out performances of The Vagina Monologues in Port Au Prince. Another performance took place in Cap Haitian, where 500 people showed up. The support for V-Day's mission of ending violence was evident. Following Eve's trip, V-Day committed to partnering with Myriam and Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue, the Minister of Women's Affairs and Rights, to open the V-Day Haiti Sorority Safe House in Port-au-Prince, a long-term safe house for women in all of Haiti. Opened in July 2008, the facility provided shelter, comprehensive medical, legal and psychological support to 40 women at a time.

With AFASDA, a women's rights group with a long track record of innovative work in Cap Haitien (a city of about 180,000 on the North coast of Haiti), V-Day helped provide funding towards the purchase of second safe house under the leadership Elvire Eugene. The center has served 40 survivors of sexual and domestic violence (and their children) at any given time, providing them with shelter, psychosocial, legal and medical support, vocational and life-skills training, basic literacy courses, and micro-loans for small businesses.

Myriam Merlet, Elvire Eugene and activist Anne Valerie Milfort traveled to New Orleans in April 2010, to celebrate V-Day's 10th anniversary along with 30,000 other V- Day supporters. They spoke at the Superdome, with other women's activists, about the plight of women in Haiti, a country besieged by violence and political turmoil, placing Haiti in the larger context of gender-based-violence globally and drawing connections to the experiences of women in New Orleans, Congo and Bosnia.

2011 Women and Girls of Haiti >
Haiti, New Orleans and Congo >
Gender-Based Violence in Haiti >
2010 Earthquake >
Taking the Lead from Women on the Ground >
A Revolutionary New Program >
Educate Yourself >
Haiti Photo Gallery 2011 >
Eve's 2011 Haiti Spotlight Monologue - "Myriam Merlet" >