It is with great sorrow that we share with you the recent passing of our friend, colleague and leader, Lunese Valcy. Joining Fonkoze in 2012, Lunese was indeed a very special person and a phenomenal leader in her community.
Born in 1967, Lunese dedicated her life to the protection of children, advocacy of women’s rights, education and social development. She belonged to several organizations that promoted these causes.
A very dynamic and inspiring person, Lunese had a great sense of leadership, loyalty and fairness. She worked hard to discover new possibilities for the women in her community, in an effort to find them a better way of life.
Lunese was eventually elected by her peers to serve on the Board of Directors of Fonkoze’s Foundation to represent the *ti machann (Creole for little merchant) in her region – which she did passionately.
She leaves behind two children, including a 16-year-old daughter. Please keep Lunese’s family and the community she supported in your thoughts and prayers as they mourn the loss of their mother and leader.
*Ti machann translates literally to “little merchant,” but that translation does not do the term justice. These are women who have small, informal businesses in their village markets—selling used clothing; food products like cooking oil, rice and flour; candies and snacks; soda; and other items. They are often illiterate; many of them walk miles to reach their markets, with wares piled on their heads; the majority live on less than two dollars a day. As women, they are often the default caregivers for their children—and are often responsible for the payment of school fees and healthcare. They are considered the poto mitan (backbone) of the Haitian economy. Their resilience in the face of adversity and economic hardship is what inspires Fonkoze’s staff to do the work we do on a daily basis.