To say that the Kenbe La Foundation is close to my heart would be a massive understatement. The organization has a very big piece of my heart.
In 2010 a terrible earthquake destroyed most of Haiti. My brother Emmanuel and his family of five lived there at the time while on a mission with the United Nations. That day, we lost two of my nieces, 5-year-old Kofie-Jade and 3-year-old Zenzie. We also lost my brother, Emmanuel.
My sister in law, Emily, and their one-year-old Alyahna survived.
Faced with the toughest most unimaginable challenge, Emily rose up to rally others like her to bring hope, happiness and real change through education to children around the world. Just a few months right after this tragedy (July 2010), she muscled the heart and courage to create the Kenbe La Foundation in memory of her family.
“Kenbe La” means “never give up” in Creole. And as Emily writes: “It honors Emmanuel and the passion and dreams he had to help disadvantaged children of his native Haiti – to provide educational opportunities to help them realize their potential.”
Emily and the organization also created Purple Cake Day, inspired by my nieces Kofie-Jade and Zenzie. It’s an annual fundraising event that “aims to celebrate and empower our children to help kids in need worldwide and to promote awareness of child poverty in developing countries.”
I will soon be launching a program donating some of my personal garment pieces in private virtual bidding rooms where 100% of the proceeds will be donated to COHP (Children of Haiti Project) the main fundraising project of Kenbe La. The Children of Haiti Project School (COHP) which has been supporting a cohort of 50 school students since 2011 to date (many of the students started this program when they were ages 3, 4 or 5 years old) and will be fully support until they graduate with the educational qualifications that enable them to apply to University. What I love about this foundation is that not only does it support children in Haiti, it always supports children programs in Uganda, Jordan and Israel through their refugee projects.
Here’s How the Virtual Fashion Silent Bidding Room Will Work:
- The clothes will come from my closet. Worn once or twice (most of these garments have had their insta-moment so time to move on!).
- I will focus on dresses only to keep the fitting consideration and overall process easily transnational (sizes will be 6 or 8). However, perhaps this concept will grow and we will receive gently worn dress donations from other fashion friends who want to join me in this cause so keep checking in as size options may range in the near future!!!
- We will keep all bidder information private thus the word “Silent” – no one will know who won the bid. Privacy is Best!
- Dresses will be posted and bidding will start at $50 reflective of the 50 students we are supporting and each bidding room will stay open for 72 hours. Quick fact: $5 helps feed one child for an entire day so imagine being able to feed the entire class for just $250!
- You will receive an email from a “Fashion for Cause” coordinator if you win and they will coordinate shipping etc.
- After the transaction has been completed, the foundation will send a confirmation receipt directly of your kind donation along with tax deductible details.
- After the transaction has been complete, the foundation will mail you a receipt of your donation along with tax deductible details.
Today, Emily (my brother’s widow lives in New Zealand with my beautiful niece Alyahna who is an avid singer, songwriter. So amazing how similar she is to my brother, she is slender, athletic and plays the guitar just like he did. She is a very confident girl, just like her auntie Guerdy. Here she is playing and singing a beautiful song she wrote called ‘Te Mana’ which translates to mean courage in English.
My Niece Singing “Te Mana”
Kenbe La Foundation is not just about my family’s story. This story is a story many people in Haiti are telling of the loss of their loved ones. It is because my brother was a humanitarian that we continue to honor his legacy with this foundation which makes a difference on issues of poverty, inequality and injustice. It is about creating hope and opportunity for children in need.
STAY TUNED for announcement on the first bidding event or if you’re eager to donate now, you can DONATE TO COHP HERE
To Love, To Life, L’Chaim!