Pierre Willy, 54, is from the community of La Chanm in the region of La Hinche. A farmer, rancher, and father of 14, Mr. Willy never envisioned a career in teaching or becoming a great leader. But life had other plans for Mr. Willy On May 29, 2008 a tragedy completely changed the trajectory of his life.
On that day his nephew was crossing a footbridge on his way to school in Kanpech. Unfortunately, he fell through the bridge and drowned in the Brouhaha River. Devastated by this unfortunate event, a year later, Mr. Willy decided to build a community school and a bridge between the two areas separated by the Brouhaha river, La Chanm and La Mamone.
He later led efforts to found the Community school of La Chanm. Due to a need for instructors, he assumed the role of educator. This of course was a community led effort as well. “When I founded this school,” he says, “I became a teacher although I didn’t really have the background for it. Six other teachers helped me, and together we all passed on what little knowledge we had to the La Chanm community.” Thanks to his investment in building the bridge and founding the school, Willy gained the respect and trust of his community.
One day he noticed that there was no water close to his community. As a result community members would ride donkeys or take their wheelbarrows and either go to another village called Larenos or to the Brouhaha River. The long trek for water was dangerous and risky. Mr. Willy contacted Haiti Outreach and learned about the process to acquire a well in La Chanm. He presented the idea to the community who welcomed it with open arms.
Thanks to Mr. Willy’s leadership, the community of La Chanm received a well from Haiti Outreach a few months later. “Since we have received the well, our life has changed completely,” says Mr. Willy. “It’s a grace for us. We are saved. Every time I saw a child crossing the Brouhaha River to fetch water, I felt sick and thought about my nephew. I’m really happy to have this new well here at La Chanm. ”
Five years later, the La Chanm well broke down. Worried about going back to square one, community members didn’t want just anyone to fix the well. They contacted Haiti Outreach to get a technician to repair the well. With no technician available in the office, it took a couple of weeks for the well to be repaired. The community of La Chanm could not contain their joy at seeing water flowing from the well after the repair.
In addition to his community leadership efforts, Mr. Willy is a motivated entrepreneur and respected farmer in his region. He even trains other interested young people to learn these practices. He hired a young man to help him better meet the growing demand for his products. People like Mr. Pierre Willy are the ones who will lead the way in Haiti’s progress towards becoming a developed nation.