DIAKONOS INTERNATIONAL INC via Crowdrise
March 30, 2014
BENEFITING: DIAKONOS INTERNATIONAL INC
Diakonos International's orphanage of Kominote Ti Fanmi Nou (meaning Our Small Community of Family) in Carrefour, Haiti, is in desperate need of a new building. ArtistsActivists, a youth advocacy non-profit based in Washington DC has designed their new home. The design focuses on safety, education and health. It will increase the number of orphans that the orphanage can support from 20 to 46. The design focuses around the idea of "hearth" and incorporates sustainable design features such and a water well initiative that will contribute to the financial stability of the orphanage in the future.
Diakonos International was established in 2008 by brother and sister Wilfrid and Martine Longchamp. Wilfrid Longchamp returned to Haiti in 2007 after a 35 year absence and was struck by the number of homeless, orphaned, and abandoned children on the streets of Haiti. Some of these orphans were being exploited as “restavek” (household slaves) and were abused and malnourished, with no access to education. Diakonos International was granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and Wilfrid's dream of helping the disenfranchised children in Haiti rise from profound and crippling poverty to productivity became “Kominote Ti Fanmi Nou” de Diakonos, an orphanage and took on 20 children.
Despite the fact that Wilfrid Longchamp passed away in the 2010 Port-au-Prince earthquake, Diakonos' Orphanage continues to grow due to need in their community. The earthquake simultaneously made the Diakonos Orphanage more necessary and more unstable. The house is small for the number of orphans that the organization needs to take on, and the house is in disrepair in the wake of the earthquake.
ArtistsActivists is a 501(c)(3) organization in affiliation with America Educates based in Washington D.C. ArtistsActivists was started by Yale Architecture graduate Tegan Bukowski in 2010 to promote youth advocacy through art and design in unstable communities around the world. ArtistsActivists has had programs in Kenya, Rwanda, Haiti, Colombia, Ghana, Panama and the United States ranging from photo journalism workshops with youth in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, to a radio school for youth in Ghana in which students teach best agricultural practices to farmers over the radio. ArtistsActivists has designed a new building for the Diakonos Orphanage.
2. Project Goals
The design for the Diakonos Orphanage by ArtistsActivists will accomplish three primary goals:
A) The safety and health of the children: The current building has been deemed insufficient by Haitian officials due to structural damage and programmatic needs. The new design will be structurally sound and will incorporate a double compound idea, in which the orphanage will be placed within a wall and the building itself will act as a another compound through the courtyard-shape of the design. A team of nutritionists and health professionals are in the process of designing a comprehensive health program for the children that will then be disseminated to other orphanages. Additionally, we have consultation from a food expert on the design of the orphanage’s kitchen and gardens so that the kids will be fed healthy food from a healthy kitchen and garden.
B) The education of the children: The current building has no common area where the children can study, read, congregate or learn. The new design will have an entire area dedicated to a quiet library and incorporates a large central gathering space with tables and chairs that can be used for teaching all of the students at once. Additionally, each child has desk space in their room.
C) The sustained success of the orphanage: Diakonos Orphanage is currently not self-sufficient financially. We would like to install a water well in the back yard that would simultaneously supply fresh water for the orphanage (which is currently purchased and delivered in barrels) and provide an income for the orphanage to support the education and health of the kids.
So, although the orphanage will serve 20-45 orphans within its walls, the design also serves the larger community and makes the orphanage more self-sufficient and an asset to the community.