Cite Soleil’s New Community Library

The Future Generations team in Haiti has recently been mobilizing local resources to create a library in the Port au Prince neighborhood of Cite Soleil. Residents are imagining the new library as a centrally located place where people can find books, study, and share ideas.

The new Bibliyotek Site Soley (Cite Soleil Community Library) got off to a strong start with a groundswell of community contributions such as those depicted in the photos in this post. The library is the newest initiative of Konbit Soley Leve, an organization led by a team of Future Generations students and alumni.

The library is an exciting example of SEED-SCALE in action. Responding to local priorities, drawing on local resources, and building on past successes, the library effort has created a focused platform for community action and solidarity. Not only are resources for a community benefit project being pooled in a transparent and inclusive way, but people have taken to social media to spread the word and share how they have participated. Using the hashtag #konbitbiblyotek, community members created visibility for the effort and built local pride and excitement among those who contributed. Organizers looked to community members for small contributions rather than wealthy donors who might be able to fund the project with one or two checks. “Marathon” is the name the Haitians give to this process of going door to door to collect donations. Money came not only from community leaders and local organizations, but also from school children, motorcycle drivers, and once word spread, from friends around the world.

Using digital methods of sharing community plans and actions, Konbit Soley Leve has harnessed community energy and funds to create the new library—which will serve both as an inspiration and a resource for the community for years to come.