Tegan Bukowski, the founder of ArtistsActivist, has been writing on SERENESocial.com for the last few months. Recently, she wrote about our ArtistsActivists project to redesign and build the Diakonos Orphanage in Haiti. See the excerpt below, or click here to see the article on SERENESocial.
On this World Women’s Day I would like to highlight the efforts of my ArtistsActivists all-women team of designers who have been working on the design of the Diakonos Orphanage in Haiti. Our design and planning efforts are culminating in a fundraising event on this Monday, March 10 at the Skylark in Manhattan. We hope to raise a portion of the construction costs and get the word out about this very important project.
Haiti’s orphaned children problem goes beyond the issue of children not having families. Abandoned and orphaned children, especially girls, are often exploited as “restavek” or household slaves. They are abused and malnourished and denied access to any education. Having spent time with the adorable and sweet kids of Diakonos, it is hard for me to believe that such terrible exploitation still exists in the world. It breaks my heart to imagine that some of these kids might have been slaves before being adopted by Diakonos. Everyone deserves a family. Everyone deserves freedom and education and a comfortable home where they can feel safe. From the beginning, Diakonos has been dedicated to creating a home for these kids, and they continue to grow due to an immense need in their community.
Diakonos Orphanage is located in Carrefour, Haiti, a suburb of Port au Prince that was badly hit by the earthquake in 2010. The orphanage building was thankfully not entirely destroyed and the kids were kept safe inside, but Wilfred Longchamp, one of the co-founders of the orphanage was killed in the quake. After this tragedy, Diakonos continues to thrive as an organization under the guidance of Wilfred’s sister, Martine Longchamp. Martine’s daughter, Kiziana, has started a bi-yearly arts workshop that brings in hundreds of kids from their entire community called Art Day Celebration. These powerful and amazing women continue to create a family for the Diakonos kids, my team of architectural designer women (myself, Alisa May and Yasemin Tarhan) hope to give them a home.
The ArtistsActivists design for the building will increase the amount of kids that Diakonos can accommodate to 50. The design centers on the idea of “hearth”, by creating a centralized plan we hope to make the house feel like a home rather than an institutional building. A lush garden is planned for the backyard that will provide fresh foods everyday day and cut costs for the orphanage. A new water well will provide fresh water for the orphanage to consume and sell.
Please consider supporting the project by donating on Crowdrise. We really can’t do this project without you. Thank you!