Basketball as a tool to mentor and educate Haitian youth

Basketball to Uplift the Youth​​

On Thursday, June 20th, BAL attended the 25th edition of Livres en Folie, Haiti's biggest and most popular book fair. For the second year in a row, Le Nouvelliste, Haiti's oldest daily newspaper and one of the event's organizers, provided our youth and staff with free entry to the event. Hosted at the Parc Unibank in the Tabarre district of Port-au-Prince, the event featured the works of hundreds of prominent Haitian and foreign authors, many of whom were present to sign their books.

Upon entering the space, BAL’s youth were guided to the children’s reading section organized by Fondation TOYA, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the empowerment of women and girls. There, the youth were provided with books to read, and they also engaged in song and dance activities led by Fondation TOYA’s staff.

The guest of honor for the 25th edition of Livres en Folie was renowned Haitian-Canadian author Dany Laferrière. In December 2013, Laferrière became the first Haitian, the first Canadian, and the second black person to be inducted into the Académie française, an institution established in 1635 that serves as the pre-eminent French council for matters pertaining to the French language. Born in Port-au-Prince, Laferrière grew up in the town of Petit-Goâve (Haitian Creole: Ti Gwav). Given the prominence of Ti Gwav in Laferrière’s work, BAL’s Executive Director, Dave Fils-Aimé, seized the moment to ask the youth some trivia questions about the town. The trivia winners were awarded with CDs of the Haitian Creole alphabet song kindly donated by Dr. Michel DeGraff, a linguistics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. DeGraff was one of the book fair’s featured authors, and he signed copies of the book Gid Fizik, which he co-authored with Dr. Paul Belony and Dr. Glenda Stump to serve as a guide to teach physics in Haitian Creole. Dr. DeGraff had often expressed his admiration for the work BAL is doing with the youth, and so he kindly took the time to interact with them.

Marie Marcelle Ferjuste, co-author of Voyageurs hors normes with Castel Germeil, was another featured author. Ferjuste was thrilled to see such a vibrant group of youth at the book fair and happily took a picture with them. Popular Haitian musician Mikaben was also present and the youth were overjoyed to meet him. For the second year in a row, Livres en Folie was a fantastic experience for BAL’s youth and staff, and we look forward to participating again next year!

BAL Participates in the 25th Edition of Livres en Folie