Nouvèl FOKAL

After January 12th 2010

A month after the earthquake,
Photo: F. Liebaut

FOKAL is slowly coming back to life.
The Foundation Connaissance et Liberté  offers its sympathies to all of our colleagues, near and far, who lost relatives, friends and allies, as well as their possessions. The Foundation also wants to thank all the friends of Haiti and elsewhere who immediately came forward to offer their support, their help and their love for this country and its citizens. Our work together will continue.

We have been able to take inventory of the personnel and their losses, both human and material with the collaboration of Real Cherizard, Leslie Dupervil and Myriam Paola Charles.
 All of our employees are alive and uninjured.
Of the 51 persons contacted, 3 had houses that were habitable (not cracked). Most have homes that were destroyed or cracked, and are living in the courtyard of FOKAL under two large tents or with relatives outside of the capital.
 Some lost close relatives, other have members of their family (youth) who were amputated.
The most immediate needs are for medications for chronic illnesses: hypertension, diabetes, etc. and temporary housing.

 FOKAL buildings:

The building built between 2001-2003 by Desso S. A., designed by Gaylord Esper, architect, seems to have withstood the quake well.
This building houses :
On the ground floor, the cafeteria, the internet café with 15 computer stations, and the Exposition Hall.
On the first floor, the Monique Calixte Library (interior), the production studio (exterior)
On the second floor, administrative offices and program offices.

The annex, added in 2008, seems to have suffered more damage. This section housed:
On the ground floor, the shelter for the generators and fuel tank.
On the first floor, the Children’s section of the library
On the second floor, the library program offices and the meeting room.

According to the expert evaluation produced by Vanessa Goscinny, the Financial Director, the damages are as follows:

Visible damage:
  1. Main building: Built according to anti-seismic norms, there is little apparent damage, except to the rear face (see below)
  2. Annex: the gangways connecting the annex to the main building became detached, and repeatedly struck the rear of the main building during the quake. This face now has several visible cracks.
The annex was built on several sub-basement pillars, two of which were damaged.  In addition, there are several visible cracks in the walls, and the exterior stairway is partially detached.

An expert evaluation of the building is underway by Miyamoto International, Inc, Structural and Earthquake Engineers.


The Library Program

The aim is to “support, rekindle hope, open, speak of grief and the process of grieving, learn about earthquakes and post-disaster situations, and put books and reading at the heart of lives as they restart.”
Lorraine Mangones, Executive Director.

  1. Determine the state of the libraries in our network.
  2. Revise the program taking into consideration the present needs. That is, determine how best to bring aid to the libraries that have been destroyed, but also to strengthen those outside the capital that did not suffer in the earthquake.
  3. Prepare the reopening of the Monique Calixte Library in light of the present conditions – work to orient the collection and the exhibits in this direction.

The Arts and Culture Program

  1. Efforts have already begun to save archives and historical library collections, institutions, galleries and small museums (for the moment, we have planned or in the process the recuperation of: Fondation Culture Création, le Centre d’Art, le Musée d’Art Haïtien du Collège St Pierre, Atelier Jean René Jérôme de Carrefour, the libraries of  Pères du St Esprit, Société d’Histoire et de Géographie, collection Georges Corvington, collection Roger Gaillard, archives Albert Mangonès, and more…).
  2. An area of 3000 square meters has been offered  free of charge (however, a fence which could cost about $20,000 must be built).
  3. Find between 20 and 30 seven-meter metal containers in which to house the collections in this space. MINUSTAH will be responsible for security.
  4. Once placed securely, the collections and archives must be protected and treated, and the containers conditioned adequately. 
  5. Then, with the support of UNESCO, establish an information base for communications  (web site, interviews, documentaries, fund raising, scientific work, etc.) using this wealth of artistic and documentary heritage.
  6. Support an artist’s colony.
  7. Make a repertory of artists, institutions and cultural activities.

The Parc de Martissant Project

1.     Immediately after the disaster, a group was organized with COOPARCH-RU to create ‘Neighbourhoods for Haiti”, a non-profit organization whose goal is to plan reconstruction of Haiti.
2.     The project for the establishment of the park is more crucial than ever.
3.     The creation of mobile units for Rights and Health is ongoing.

The Youth Initiative program

According to Anis Jean-Gerard, the Youth Initiative Program Coordinator, all the youth groups have been contacted and no loss of life has been reported.
The programs are being reviewed.

The Scholarship program
The inventory of scholarship recipients is ongoing. Seven students were managed through HELP and one of them, Evenson Jean died during the earthquake.

The Media Program
Le programme Media
This program started in January 2010. Maude Malengrez, in charge of this program attended the Media and Information coordinators meeting of the Open Society Insitute, late January in New York. Along with Elizabeth Pierre-Louis, Director of Programs at FOKAL, she reworked the strategy with the help of  Gordana Jankovic, Jane McElhone from the Media program as well as Sandra Dunsmore, Regional Director of OSI. The subjects presented were fellowship grants for investigating reporting, citizen media, support for better coordination of the sector as well as specific help for reconstruction.  

Michele D. Pierre-Louis , Executive Director and founder of FOKAL (1995-2008), Prime Minister (2008-2009) has been nominated by Georges Soros to head his reconstruction fund for Haiti and was invited to accompany him to Davos during the World Economic Forum in February 2010. Since January 15th   George Soros pledged  4 millions dollars, an initial fund to help Haiti. 


Our biggest problem at the moment is finding containers quickly, because the places where the collections are on the point of being demolished.

A resource person who can take charge of the artist’s colony.

 Training aimed at post-disaster mental and physical health, art therapy.

Important links

- La page du Open Society Institute OSI et Haiti 
Cultures France Solidarite pour Haiti