[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
#140: Haitian Banking Intern Needs Hosting Family in Miami (fwd)
From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>
Subject: Haitian Banking Intern Needs Hosting Family in Miami
Published Sunday, July 11, 1999, in the Miami Herald
Banking intern from Haiti needs host family
By JASMINE KRIPALANI
Ever since a Brickell bank decided to take on an intern from Haiti this
summer, there has been one major setback -- finding a place for the
intern to live.
Garry Francois, an intern from FONKOZE Haiti -- a grass-roots banking
system that serves the poor -- will be interning at Pinebank, 1001
Brickell Bay Dr. for eight weeks but will have no place to live when he
arrives this week.
The chief financial officer, Jean-Marie Florestal, has been trying to
find a host family for the past two months.
So far, a host family has not been found and Pinebank is making a public
plea to help the 27-year-old find a Miami residence.
"We have to find a place for [Francois] to live because they don't get
paid as an intern,'' Florestal said.
During his stay, Florestal will provide Francois with a monthly bus pass
to get around.
His own savings, FONKOZE Haiti and FONKOZE USA will cover any expenses
he may have during his stay.
"If we find him a host family we always hope they will provide him with
food,'' Florestal said.
Francois, a recent computer science graduate from the University of
Quisqueya in Port-Au-Prince, is a bit hesitant about living with
"I'm a little bit excited and I'm somewhat worried,'' Francois said in
a phone interview from Haiti. "I don't know who I am going to live with
and it's a new experience.''
Francois was selected from 100 applicants for the internship by project
director Anne Hastings, who said that finding a family who will take in
a stranger can be difficult and even the interns worry about it.
"One of the hesitancies is that the students do not want to be a burden
to the families they live with,'' Hastings said in a phone interview
from Haiti. "And we explained that living with a family would be part
of the experience.''
After the eight-week internship, Francois will spend a semester studying
business at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
At FONKOZE -- which in Creole is an acronym for Shoulder to Shoulder,
Francois currently earns a little under $300 per month -- that's in a
country where the average income is less than a dollar per day. And when
he returns in December, he'll be a supervisor and will get a pay
Francois is required to sign a contract stating he agrees to work for
FONKOZE for 15 months.
FONKOZE Haiti was founded in 1994 with the help of the Rev. Joseph
Philippe and since then, the program has grown.
In January 1997, the project had 193 savings accounts totaling $78,453.
Today it has 5,134 savings accounts totaling $594,243.
Because Francois is expected to start the internship Tuesday, the need
for a host family is urgent.
Francois is fluent in English -- he's taught the language -- but has had
little experience in the business world.
"When he came to us a year ago he had never had a real job,'' Hastings
said. "Now he has a year's experience [with FONKOZE] and an internship
with a bank in Miami.''
The qualifications for this program include graduation from the
university and the ability to speak English.
"It's also very hard to find trained personnel,'' said Leigh Carter,
executive director of FONKOZE USA. "That's why we have this program.
Most of the educated people leave the country.''
Hastings added: "They need to give back to their community.''
But in the meantime, frustration follows Florestal, the Pinebank
executive, who hasn't seen any doors open.
"I'm about to give up and raise the money instead,'' Florestal said.
Copyright 1999 Miami Herald