Vwa Fanm means women's voices in Creole.
Twelve Haitian migrant women living in the Dominican Republic were empowered with storytelling skills and encouraged to document their lives. Guided by media professionals, coaches and students they used photography and audio to create their own multimedia pieces.

These are their stories. These are their voices.


Alfonsina


Alfonsina was born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian migrant parents. She is 17 years old and has never been to Haiti. Before becoming pregnant, she dreamed of attending university. Her newborn child has not yet been legitimized by his Dominican father and runs the risk of not obtaining documentation. She fears that because she herself does not have citizenship he will also remain stateless.

Her story

Student's story

Belouse


Belouse has three children yet two of them were left behind in Haiti. None of them currently attend school. Her youngest child was born after the new Law of Migration passed in 2004 and does not have a legal right to citizenship. She has been living in Santiago for the past 4 years with her husband and dreams of returning to Haiti someday.

Claudette


Claudette arrived in the Dominican Republic 7 years ago. She migrated alone driven by the idea of making money and sending it back to Haiti where she left her two children. Despite all the difficulties and the fear of being deported, she has been able to carry out a variety of jobs to support her family, including selling clothes and coal on the streets.

Her story

Student's story

Evane


Evane was born in Pilate in Northern Haiti. She has three kids who are 10, 8 and 4 years old. Two of them were born in Dominican Republic but are not attending school. Although children of Haitian descent have access to primary education if the school is over capacity they will most likely be rejected on the basis of being foreign. She often works cleaning houses.

Her story

Student's story

Immaculee


Immaculée is 43 years old and recently gave birth to her 4th child. She settled in Santiago 13 years ago when she migrated with her two children. Her third child was born in the Dominican Republic before 2004 but did not receive a valid birth certificate. Eventually they all went back to Haiti so they could study. After the earthquake, Immaculée returned to Haiti to bury the remains of her eldest child.

Her story

Student's story

Marie


Marie migrated to the Dominican Republic 15 years ago without documents. She has been deported twice and has reentered the country by paying “buscones” or recruiters. Two of her children, 12 and 8, were born in the Dominican Republic before 2004 but only one was given a birth certificate. For her other child, she obtained forged papers to enable him to attend school. Currently they both study.

Her story

Student's story

Mimose


Mimose reentered the Dominican Republic recently after being deported. She was trafficked into the country by men who lead migrants across the Haitian Dominican border on foot at night. Once in the Dominican Republic the buscones pay the military that guard the roadblocks so they will allow the migrants to get through without any problems. For the past 7 years, she has been traveling back and forth illegally.

Her story

Student's story

Nairoby


Nairoby was born to a Haitian mother and a Dominican father. Fortunately her father declared her and she was able to obtain citizenship however neither her mother nor her siblings have documents. On several occasions, her entire family has been deported and she has been the only one left behind. Luckily upon arriving at the border her mother is always able to negotiate the family's way back.

Her story

Student's story

Neltha


Neltha is 23 years old and was born in Northern Haiti. The Dominican Republic has been her home for the past six years. She paid “buscones” or recruiters to cross the border illegally after her cousin convinced her she would have a better life in the neighboring country. She sent her eldest child back to Haiti and lives with her husband and her second child who was born in the Dominican Republic.

Her story

Student's story

Rose-Laure


Rose-Laure is 33 years old and has five kids. She left two of her children back in Haiti and the other three were born in the Dominican Republic before 2004. None of them have been able to obtain citizenship. She has been asked repeatedly for the papers of her two daughters at school. She fears they may not be able to move into higher education because of lack of legal documentation.

Her story

Student's story

Rosette


Rosette recently migrated to Santiago less than three years ago leaving behind her eldest daughter. Her youngest child was born in the Dominican Republic after the 2004 Law of Migration was put into place. She came following her husband with the hope of finding a job. Since their arrival, her husband has barely managed to carry out temporary jobs and she has not been able to find work.

Yvaline


Yvaline made Santiago her home 12 years ago. All her four children were born in the Dominican Republic before 2004 yet they were all denied citizenship. She received an unofficial piece of paper that was later rejected by the civil registry. Although all her children are attending school, the eldest child, 12, is beginning to have problems with her documentation and may be forced to interrupt her studies.

Her story

Student's story


Watch the women share how they learned to work with cameras and audio recorders for the first time, and how that experience changed their lives.

Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery

What is the issue?


In the Community of Gurabo, Santiago Dominican Republic (over an establishing shot or on black before an establishing shot)

How to Help

  • 1. Fund a skill building program for these 12 Haitian migrant women living in the Dominican Republic. Through the Jesuit Refugee and Migrant Service support them by donating funds for a training workshop designed to promote job diversity and better opportunities for decent livelihoods. Contact cdol.cefasasjrm [AT] gmail.com.

  • 2. Volunteer your skills by working with the Jesuit Refugee Migrant Service and other non-governmental organizations in the Dominican Republic that are addressing the issue of Haitian migration. Contact them to volunteer your knowledge or send a proposal for a short or long term project.

  • 3. Promote this project through social networking sites and other media outlets so it can have greater reach. Make this issue more visible and help raise awareness that can lead to advocacy, action and social change.

Participatory Multimedia Storytelling: Haitian Migrant Women in the DR

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