Discover and celebrate the people of Terre Froide, Haiti: Hands On’s primary partner community. Here are 15 HONY-inspired profiles of community members originally posted in January 2016.

Jean-Valable Mathieu, age 60

I am an educator; I am the director of the nearest school, and I have 42 years of teaching experience. I teach French and social and experimental sciences at the elementary school level. I want this region to become the quintessence of quality education because education is the key to development. Without education, we will never develop, especially here in Haiti.

Sonel “Topman” Jesus, age 18

People call me “Topman”. That’s my artist name; I want to become a rapper when I’m older. But right now I have to finish school first. I am in neuvième fondamentale [equivalent to grade 8], so I still have 5 more years. Until then, I am focusing on reading as much as I can and learning languages. I love languages. Right now I speak 4: Creole, English, French and Spanish, but I will keep trying to learn more.

Katie Medjaska Chery, age 12

I live in Croix-des-Bouquets to go to school; I am in septième fondamentale [equivalent to grade 6]. My parents have four kids, and I am the oldest, but I am the only girl; I have three brothers. I aspire to become a great doctor in the future so that I can help my family and my entire community. My dream is to build a big hospital in my community to help all of those who have a health problem. Another dream is to travel the world and visit many countries, with my family of course.

Kenold Jean-Louis, age 17

The hardest thing for me is that I don’t see the path to my personal development. And I don’t have the means to resolve this problem. Or I don’t see how to, yet. I think about it everyday.

Rose Eltha Mathieu, age 28

Since I was a child, my dream was to become a doctor, but that dream ended when I had to quit school to get married, because I was pregnant. That is my biggest regret in my life because it made me get married too young, and I don’t have the possibility of realising my dream anymore. But now I am working as hard as I can so that my kids can finish school and learn a profession. What hurts me the most right now, though, is that I don’t live in the same community as my only daughter; she lives in Croix-des-Bouquets so that she can keep going to a good quality school. Since she is my oldest child, she is the one I want to realize the dream of becoming a doctor for. So that is everything that I am working for right now.

Richard Fils-Aimé, age 18

My goal in life is to totally change everything for the better. For me, everyone in Terre Froide and in Haiti. My biggest dream is to get everyone in the world to have access to electricity and to the internet, because I think both are very important for development.

Juneska Mathieu, age 8

My mum always tells me that when I was 2 years old, I lived in Croix-des-Bouquets so that I could go to Kindergarten. Unfortunately, after January 12th, 2010 – the date of the big earthquake in Haiti – I had to leave to come back to Terre Froide. But I lost a year of school. So I started Kindergarten again in another community, but I had to get there and back every day by motorcycle. One day on the motorcycle, we got in a big accident and I got injuries on my face. I still have scars. After that, my parents took me out of that school, to instead go to the same school as my brother. This is my fourth year there. This is why my dream now is that there is a good school for youth in Terre Froide, and that way I could also become a Kindergarten teacher.

Today in microfashion

Guy-Valovsky “Kiki” Mathieu, age 20

Education is always my priority; it is the key to a better future for youth. At school I would be interested in studying political sciences, diplomacy, international relations, but more importantly education sciences. My goal is to help my community however I can, and I think education is the best way for me to do that.

Karl Valgens Mathieu, age 15

I live in Port-au-Prince to go to school. I have 22 subjects at school. I have to get up at 5 every morning to be there at 7. I finish at 2, so I usually get back home at 3. I love physics, but actually, I don’t really like math.

Oh, and I love football. I think Real Madrid is the best team right now.

Sanozier Annsot, age 30

I have been trained in technology and I am learning about journalism right now. My dream is to become an entrepreneur, though. But before that, I want to work as a teacher or a director in a school, because I like that a lot. That’s also why I like this project (the Terre Froide Community School) so much; for the first time, I feel like the people of Terre Froide actually stand a chance. This is the first official building we are going to have in our area, and that in itself is so symbolic for us. The words “thank you” are too small to express our gratitude.

Belson “Jojo” Mathieu, age 16

I love school and I want to become an engineer. But I also love music. I listen to a lot of music: English music, Spanish music, French music, Creole, too. I love konpa and reggae the most.

Mario “Kouzen ak Kouzin” Bazilus, age 21

I have 4 brothers and 2 sisters, but they live in another community. I decided to stay in Terre Froide to participate in the school project as a volunteer on the worksite. I have worked every day since the project started in August because the project presents many opportunities for me and the rest of the community.

Mariert Merisca, age 22

I live in Terre Froide with my 5 sisters and 2 brothers. I am in troisième [equivalent to grade 9] but I currently don’t have the means to pay for it since my mother passed away and I have to work to support my family. But I want to continue school because I have lots of ideas in my head. If I manage to continue I would like to become an engineer to serve my community. Or maybe a writer.

Sergo Jesus, age 23

I want to be a great musician one day. That is why I always have my guitar with me. I have loved music for a long time. I never actually learned how to play guitar or to sing, but I will always give it my best effort and will continue teaching myself. Now I have composed 13 of my own songs, but I want to keep advancing. Here, let me play one for you.

Listen to Sergo’s song in full here.

Sometimes I want to cry
Life can be mistreating
Family, relatives, friends, forget you
Mother, father, deny you
There is nobody to help you
There is nobody to help you.
When you are unlucky
Everything wrong looks like you
Is it true?
When nobody likes you
They would like to see you complain
About all of those more fortunate.
But I will not be discouraged,
I will not be despaired,
I know one day this will change.

Life here on Earth, no one can understand it
Life of a human on the ground, only God can define it
Don’t complain to your friends, don’t complain to your friends
Talk instead to God
He is your best friend, he is your best friend,
Only he will never betray you…