The Kreyol International Volleyball Tournament
The Kreyol International Volleyball Tournament aims to attract Caribbean and other international volleyball teams / players living in the United States and abroad to participate in a festive tournament that celebrates the game, its core values, and the Kreyol attitudes of our origins. The tournament evolved out of a yearly family reunion-type event that was originally created to reunite former volleyball players from Haiti with the purpose of reminiscing on school competitions and holding friendly games to introduce the game to family members and friends. Many of these players had immigrated since their days as players and began expanding their family lives outside of Haiti, and so their best memories of days gone by had one main common denominator – volleyball. From those humble beginnings back in 1997, the tournament has since blossomed into a yearly event, welcoming teams from all backgrounds. Yet, it has maintained the feel of a large family reunion and serves as an experience to strengthen old friendships and create new ones. Moreover, the tournament serves as a platform for teaching the fundamental principles espoused by organized sport: excellence and dedication, respect, and camaraderie just to name a few. Now in its 16th successful consecutive year, the event has been held alternatively in New York, Montreal, Boston, Miami, and of course, Port-au- Prince, Haiti. Sélébré Ayiti has partnered with Miami Kreyol to organize the event in order to provide up-and-coming volleyball standouts an opportunity to showcase their talents for collegiate coaches and scouts that welcome international recruits. In addition to improved physical health, participation in sports plays a positive role in improved academic achievement, higher self-esteem, and better psychosocial development; and, this kind of program allows Haitian youth to showcase their talents on an international stage.
The Toup Pou Yo Project
In October 2014, Sélébré Ayiti (SA) organized an initiative to help the Haiti U-17 national football team in their efforts to represent the nation at the FIFA U-17 World Cup scheduled to take place in Chile 2015. Sélébré Ayiti is attempting to shift the paradigm so that our national athletes/teams are not viewed on the international stage as mere also-rans, but rather as real contenders – the descendants of the great national teams of the 1960s and 1970s – standing on the shoulders of great players like the incomparable Emmanuel “Manno” Sanon who shocked the world in the 1974 FIFA World Cup by scoring an amazing goal against the impenetrable Dino Zoff of Italy.
As a former Haitian national athlete, Myriam Halisi, President of SA, has served her country with pride on the international stage, but she has also faced the indignities brought about by poor in-house management and lack of financial support – which at times forced athletes to find shelter at the airport of the host country while awaiting a match instead of in a hotel. The Toup Pou Yo project was a grassroots, social media crowdfunding project which asked friends and supporters of SA to buy one pair of football cleats for a member of the U-17 team. The project was an overwhelming success and they went on to be 2014 U-17 Champions of the Caribbean.
Sélébré Ayiti Digital Divide Initiative (SADDI)
The Sélébré Ayiti Digital Divide Initiative (SADDI) seeks to create a Wi-Fi network in Place St. Anne, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a densely populated area in the capital often used by students because electrical light posts allow them to complete their work during the habitual rooming blackouts that occur on a daily basis. Internet access is practically nonexistent in this area and less than 20% of the entire population in the capital has access to high-speed internet. The initiative will be launched using open technologies for wireless communications, such as mesh networking, to allow for a community-governed resource. The system will use multiple low-cost Wi-Fi devices deployed throughout the community to relay connections to the global internet and follows in the footsteps of successful projects launched recently in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and in Detroit in the United States. Along with much-needed internet access, key to bridging the digital divide, SADDI will provide opportunities for job training as members of the community learn to build and maintain the network; allow school students to complete online assignments; open the door to distance-learning opportunities that have been previously inaccessible, such as Khan Academy; and, create the potential for increased civic engagement as residents connect around a shared digital space.
Access to affordable high-speed internet is increasingly being seen as essential to life in the 21st century as electricity, water or sewer. In the “Third World” where issues of electricity and water still remain, issues of the digital divide are a distant after-thought to the powers that be. However, at Sélébré Ayiti we believe that in order for Haitians to be productive in the 21st century they must obtain 21st century skills. And so we did something.