Students organize to assist in Haitian relief effort

Student groups on campus have begun the process of coming together and collaborating to organize a charity dance on April 27 to benefit Haiti’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Matthew. The effort is being led by Laurie Morency ’20, whose relatives co-founded the Jean-Joseph Darbouze Foundation.

The JJD Foundation is an organization created in the memory of Reverend Jean Joseph Barbouze and that carries on his mission of providing aid and development for the people of Haiti, working out of the capital of Port-au-Prince. The foundation provides a variety of mechanisms of aid, from assistance in health, education and community service to an increasingly important focus on disaster relief.

Hurricane Matthew, which struck the island nation in 2016, had disastrous effects. According to the foundation’s website, up to 85% of the houses in towns such as Arniquet, Haiti, were lost, leaving many Haitians homeless.

The JJD Foundation has set itself a goal to raise $25,000 every month to contribute toward relief efforts, which range from providing drinkable water, distributing food and giving out school supplies to children whose education has been interrupted by the hurricane. “The foundation has been doing a lot of disaster relief with clinics that they provide with medical help, providing food and water to people, and has been building more schools and classrooms,” said Morency.

Several campus groups, led by Morency, are collaborating with this foundation to host a benefit dance in April, all proceeds of which will go directly to the foundation. So far, the Distinguished Women of Color Collective and Emerson Feminist Perspectives House have agreed to collaborate with Morency. Employees of the foundation itself will be present at the dance, prior to which their will be a presentation on the current state of disaster relief for Haiti. There will also be traditional Haitian food served for students to sample, as well as opportunities for students to donate what they can to the foundation.

Morency hopes to get as many student groups and campus organizations as possible to collaborate on the event. She is currently contacting groups such as the Marshall Center, Latino Student Association and Center for Global Education. She encourages those interested in being a part of the event to contact her at

Even if students cannot physically attend the event on April 27, there are still ways to be involved in the foundation’s relief efforts. Morency said that the foundation is always looking for more volunteers, and if students are interested, there are opportunities to work in Haiti over the summer months. Additionally, students can donate directly to the JJD Foundation through its website.