Never Too Late to Learn
A Fonkoze member for eleven years, Fason Jean-Baptiste sells pepe, secondhand clothing (usually from the United States) that Haitian vendors resell in the local market. She buys her merchandise in Port-au-Prince and then resells it in the market in Mirogwan.
“Before Fonkoze’s Alfa class, I didn’t know to read at all. I didn’t know how to write. I didn’t know how to manage my profits. I didn’t know anything,” Fason says.
Fason started in the first chapter of Alfa bon, Fonkoze’s recently redesigned book to engage Solidarity clients in learning basic literacy skills. “Now I can write my name and my children’s names,” she says.
Fason has twelve children, the youngest of whom is thirteen. While seven of them have left the house, five are still in school and continue to live with Fason.
“I feel proud now because I had five educated children and I couldn’t even write my name. Now I can, thanks to Alfa bon.”
Now Fason has moved on to Fonkoze’s Business Skills class, which provides Solidarity clients with training to enable them to improve their commerce.
“The class teaches me how to buy and resell—how much I should spend to make a profit. It has really helped me; now it’s not the same thing at all.”
“I borrow money and then I increase it,” Fason says. She started with a loan of $75. She now borrows sums as large as $470.
“I’m really, really, really happy,” she says.
For the future, Fason hopes that her children will find good jobs. “My own future is to work, to continue to learn business management. It’s live and die.”