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Loune Viaud

Loune Viaud (1966-)

Social Strategist/Humanitarian/Health Care Advocate

During Black History Month 2014, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience is honoring faithful Black women freedom fighters. Today we honor Loune Viaud.

Loune ViaudLoune Viaud [b. 1966] in Port Salut , southern Haiti is a health care worker and Director of Operations and Strategic Planning for Zanmi Lasante a sister organization to Partners in Health – Haiti. Her life’s work has been to address the flow of international donor and loan funds into Haiti, because the lacks of coordination with local entities undermine the Haitian government’s ability to fulfill its human rights obligations.

Her career took a turn in 1988 when an armed attack on Father John Bertrand Aristide’s [Catholic priest and politician] congregation killed 13 and injured 80 civilians. After the attack Ms. Viaud left the country of Haiti and relocated to Boston where she became active with Partners in Health. A staunch advocate for women, she pioneered Haiti’s first women’s health center, Proje Santé Fanm - in December 1990.  Ms. Viaud has since helped train scores of women’s health agents and traditional birth attendants. Moreover, she has implemented several women’s literacy projects, a scholarship program for girls and a gender-awareness curriculum for training health care personnel. In 2002 she received the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for her advocacy and service.

Ms. Viaud’s ongoing work in Haiti took on an even greater urgency when that country was hit by a devastating earthquake in January 2010. She has since been working to provide health care to the most vulnerable populations and to strengthen the health care sector. Ms. Viaud also worked in partnership with the Haitian government and other organizations to help establish a children’s shelter for orphaned and abandoned children, many of whom are disabled. She said regarding her work: "Children in Haiti, particularly homeless, disabled, and orphaned children, still desperately need shelter, care, and protection. We must make sure that their fundamental rights are protected and that the government of Haiti is empowered to fulfill these rights."

Sources:
Photo: Partners in Health http://blogs.nysut.org/sttp/defenders/loune-viaud/ (Accessed 12/25/13)
http://rfkcenter.org/loune-viaud-haiti (Accessed 12/25/13)
http://www.haitisupportgroup.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=275:loune-viaud&catid=85:famous-haitians&Itemid=30  (Accessed 12/25/13)
http://blogs.nysut.org/sttp/defenders/loune-viaud/  (Accessed 12/25/13)

Compiled by Beverly Moore

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