Renald Raphael, "Twa Zanmi" Community Health Coordinator
I left Haiti to come to the United States to pursue my medical education. My first immigrant experience was to teach Anatomy & Physiology in a Massage Therapy School in Georgia in a bilingual setting. Soon, my life changed as I became married and came to settle in Boston, where I became acquainted with other Haitian immigrant health professionals and pursued my career in public health. Since then, my immigrant journey continued as a seesaw between the “Who I was”- a licensed medical professional - and who I was forced to become: just an immigrant in search of a new life. Today, while I have learned much of this country, through New Routes Twa Zanmi project, my immigrant journey has found a new way in dealing with mental health issues that have affected my life and the lives of many of my fellow immigrants in this country.
The “Konbit” culture is one the most powerful community tools practiced in Haiti’s rural areas by Haitian farmers as they are working in cultivating the land. We have seen this sense of togetherness being played out in many rally movements to challenge political status quo (Duvalier dictatorship), or to reverse a social stigma (New York AIDS rally). These “get-togethers”, if they are sustainable, can become an important vehicle in bringing mental health support to each other and in creating social change.
Topics: New Routes Leaders
Watch and Listen
New Research & Recommendations
This report (PDF 3.8MB) offers guidance for community organizations and those who fund social change in how best to harness the power of local media-making for community health improvement. Spanish-language version is now available. Una versión en español de este informe esta en la web.