Charlotte is from Indianapolis, Indiana. She double majored in Community Health and International Relations whose academics have emphasized an anthropological perspective through the Nationalism, Culture, and Identity concentration. Her interests lie in the intersection of health, policy, marginalized populations and global thinking. While studying abroad in Nepal in the fall of 2008, she researched the experiences of water scarcity and the rural and urban perceptions of development projects that focus on water provision. She is passionate about focusing on community strengths to achieve sustainable development driven by community engagement. These interests led her to join RESPE: Ayiti, and she strongly believes in the mutual empowerment that arises from the collaboration of RESPE, the Haitian Diaspora, and the community of Balan to achieve their self-identified development initiatives. Charlotte is particularly excited to expand RESPE’s emphasis on health by helping to coordinate the addition of a maternal health clinic to Balan.
Sabina Carlson is a graduate of Tufts University who hopes to spend her life empowering and assisting communities recovering from conflict. Sabina has been involved in dealing with communities in crisis since the 8th grade when she decided to dedicate her life to ending the genocide in Darfur. Her most significant achievements have come through her work with the Darfur movement, including the positions of National Community Outreach Coordinator and now National Education Coordinator for STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition and through this work has come to understand and respect the strength of communities in conflict. . Sabina is also a strong believer in the intersection between health and human rights, and has worked for three semesters as an intern at Physicians for Human Rights. Her other strong interest is in languages, and studies French, Swahili, Arabic, and is teaching herself Haitian Kreyol and Sudanese Fur. Lastly, Sabina works over the summers at a plant nursery/farm in New Jersey and has come to understand how vital agriculture is to the health and stability and growth of all communities and intends to pursue a path that follows the relationship between strong agriculture, strong nutrition, strong health, and strong human rights.
Valerie Schenkman started her research on rural education in Balan during the first trip, January 2008. She conducted an initial survey of what educational opportunities existed within Balan. After speaking with principals, teachers, students and community members, she learned that the educational situation is closely interconnected with health, infrastructure, and commerce. From lack of transportation to difficult testing requirements, improving the local system is a daunting challenge. Yet, despite hunger, distance, and dismal career opportunities, students continue to show up to classes. During RESPE’s second trip in the summer of 2008, Valerie decided to focus on the resiliency of these students through film. She shadowed three adolescents of different academic levels through their daily routine and spoke with their family and friends. Through meetings with the community about content and characters, Valerie was able to tailor the film to what Balan residents found most pressing and interesting.
Helaina's interest in Haiti was sparked by her participation in the IGL's 2007-2008 EPIIC colloquium on Global Poverty and Inequality during her sophomore year. As an International Relations major, Helaina has sought to approach development initiatives and her research in Haiti through holistic engagement and partnership with the community. Helaina has traveled to Haiti twice to study Balan's rural economy and dynamics of community micro-lending. Through focus groups, observations, key informant interviews, and participatory research, Helaina has focused on studying the prevalence and impact of remittances in Balan, rural access to microfinance, grassroots micro-lending initiatives, and the effects of the international rice trade on Balan's rice farmers' wellbeing. Helaina's interests also include Haitian migration and Diaspora mobilization for development. Since RESPE's first steps, Helaina's aims have been to understand the community's existing resources, challenges, and priorities, and to work collaboratively with RESPE: Balan to achieve its development initiatives.
In the winter of 2008, Patricia Eloizin sought to research the role of women in the rural community of Balan. Through individual, group, and informal interviews, she probed about the unique contribution of women to this local community from their involvement in churches and community organizations to their responsibilities as the main caretaker for their family. Most of her research focused on observation, where she was able to document first-hand the subtle yet noticeable ways in which on one hand, women are admired for their strength and remarkable work while on the other they are at times silenced and left powerless. Building upon the work of others on the trip, she sought to understand the assets and challenges of women in the areas of education, community organizing, health and commerce.
Adam White graduated from Tufts Engineering School. During his time at Tufts, he was an active member of numerous Tufts groups, including the EWB chapter at Tufts. In Haiti, he was in charge of the GPS mapping project and GIS follow-up, general planning, and infrastructure assessments. Adam will receive his Masters Degree in Urban Planning from the London School of Economics in Spring 2010.