Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

How I Used My Gifts for Lasting Change in Haiti


December 23, 2014

Dear Friends,

I’m writing because this year I found an exciting opportunity to make lasting positive change in Haiti by supporting the Rape Accountability and Prevention Project (RAPP), at the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). I hope that you will consider joining me in this meaningful and empowering initiative.

I knew that the trauma of rape is complicated and has many repercussions—personally and culturally. I had read that the aftermath of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake was a time of great vulnerability and fear, when rapes increased dramatically, particularly in the camps where 1.5 million were forced to live. But it was not until this year that I learned I could do something about it.

donate-now-buttonAs an advantaged white Latina living in the States most of my life, I’ve been aware of but not faced with most of the insecurities females face daily in Haiti. I learned from a friend about Boston-based IJDH and the struggles and successes of their rape accountability work. I became impassioned by the hard work Haitians lead in their country, to change their society and judiciary systems to redeem the value of their women and families. My passions, empathy, spiritual faith, education and immigrant experience have shaped my priorities around philanthropy. In September, I had the opportunity to sponsor an awareness-raising dinner on RAPP, with a truly inspiring presentation on the work in Haiti. I also donated office equipment to give IJDH’s growing staff and volunteers an efficient workspace. As they say, when talent meets opportunity, not only can wondrous things happen but any boundaries become permeable and possibly inexistent.

I have been a long-time admirer of activists empowering women around the world. I observed my own mother’s pivotal strength and faith, as well as the generosity of others as an immigrant child—a true foundation to my need to give of myself and of my possessions. These are profound gifts of limitless worth: dignity, justice, love and HOPE. And isn’t this what the season of giving is about?

IJDH cannot continue the RAPP without a compassionate community of supporters. We have to acknowledge that women are the backbone of Haitian society, nurturing and gathering to organize, keeping the social fabric and cultural heritage intact. Together we can empower these sisters through the justice system, change their life course, create a respectful dynamic in the community and restore the productivity and fulfillment of a nation. We must BELIEVE!

Please consider IJDH when giving. If you meet with friends on a regular basis, incorporate a giving component and spread the word. If you can give of your time, talents or funds, keep IJDH in mind. Consider this a personal invitation, a clear opportunity to make a difference that in some way will touch your life profoundly.

Sincerely and gratefully,

Mercedes Ridao


Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
867 Boylston Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (857)-201-0991
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