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Launch of Magazine: "Cite Soleil: 5 Ans Konbit"

Five years ago, on June 25th, 2011, a small collection of community leaders from different neighborhoods in Cite Soleil assembled in Centre Pilote. They realized that by reaching across neighborhood lines and coming together, they could build a better future for Cite Soleil. They decided not to form an NGO, an organization, a foundation or a political party, but rather a social movement based on the traditional practice of Konbit, the principles of participation, solidarity, and reciprocity. They named this movement Konbit Solèy Leve.

Five years later, Konbit Solèy Leve has almost become a philosophy – a category for everyone who is working towards positive community development in Cite Soleil. The movement has had incredible successes, challenges, and setbacks, but remains resilient and continues to evolve. And after five years of struggle and perseverance, people in the heart of the movement wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past half-decade, take stock of how far they’d come and what lessons they’d learn, and prepare for the five years to come.

They decided to do this by creating a magazine that would document the successes of the past five years and all that is positive about Konbit Solèy Leve.

The magazine was an ambitious idea, designed to showcase all the resilience, positivity, and potential in Cite Soleil. Louino Robillard was the driver of his project, and Raj Magazine was the technical partner for design, layout, editing, and production. More than twenty volunteers contributed for content-creation, collection of interviews, translation, editing, and photography.

The magazine had 89 pages of content, and highlighted dozens of stories of people from Cite Soleil defying the stigma assigned to them. The Magazine highlighted the history of Konbit Solèy Leve, its major accomplishments and challenges, and diverse testimonies about people’s experiences with the movement. It also highlighted groups whose work is in line with the philosophy and principles of the movement. It also highlighted role models from Cite Soleil, such as international boxer Evens Pierre and animator Odlin Jean.

1,500 copies were printed the first time around and distributed throughout Cite Soleil, Port au Prince, and the rest of the country. Copies will be delivered to contributors abroad. The magazine has already received impressive praise – not only does the content work to shatter stereotypes about Cite Soleil, but professional quality of the final product is its own challenge to the way that people see what can be produced by Haiti’s largest ghetto.

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