Community Papers

Art raises money for Haiti in Nelson

Nelson’s Marie-Paule Brisson (middle) and Sebastien de Marre (right) with five-year-old Rosena who was orphaned after the 2010 earthquake. - photo submitted
Nelson’s Marie-Paule Brisson (middle) and Sebastien de Marre (right) with five-year-old Rosena who was orphaned after the 2010 earthquake.
— image credit: photo submitted

An upcoming Art for People exhibit in Nelson will benefit humanitarian work involving women and children in Haiti.

Andy Holmes and Martine Bedard are the Rossland-based artists behind the Art for People, a series of fundraising exhibits where the proceeds from art sales help a variety of international aid projects.

This Friday’s show at Kootenay Art Therapy Institute will support the grassroots effort Marie-Paule Brisson and Sebastien de Marre, a retired local couple who have spend the past two years supporting mothers and children in Haiti.

They were in Haiti volunteering for the NGO Pure Water in January 2010 when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated the island nation and forced them to temporarily return to Canada.

In October 2010 Brisson and de Marre went back to Haiti and they have remained there since, helping in whatever way they can.

They are in touch with friends back in Nelson who co-ordinate a modest fundraising effort that allows the couple to continue their work in Haiti.

In a recent e-mail, Brisson explained they hope to renew a lease on a room in a house in Jacmel (three hours east of the capitol city, Port-au-Prince), which they’ve been renting for three single mothers and their children.

“In Haiti, you have to pay for a minimum of six months to one year rent at once (the full amount, it’s crazy!),” she wrote, noting a six month lease would cost about $175 in US dollars.

They also hope to pay school fees for the women’s eight               children — six girls and two boys.

“Here, as in many poor countries, girls are not sent to school. If there is not enough money, boys will be sent first,” the email said, noting school fees are around $100 USD, though one of the girls is deaf and attends a special school with fees around $500 USD.

Brisson wrote about the struggles these families face, as well as their dream of one day building a house of their own, like the one they lived in before the earthquake.

Brisson also writes about a little five-year-old orphan girl named Rosena, who she and de Marre hope to adopt and bring back to Canada (“she is our sunshine,” she says of the girl). The pair have no timeline for when they will return to Canada.

All the proceeds of the Art for People show will help the  ongoing work in Haiti. Art will be for sale and there will be a donation jar for anyone who wants to contribute.

The event takes place at the Kutenai Art Therapy Institute (191 Baker Street, second floor) on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.


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