U.S. Embassy Announces the 2018 Cohort of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program

Port-au-Prince: The U.S. Embassy is proud to announce the 2018 cohort from Haiti for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program.  This program will take place in September and October 2018 and will bring 250 young leaders from 36 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States.  This year we are pleased to announce that nine (9) young entrepreneurs from Haiti have been accepted out of approximately about 2,500 applications.

The five-week YLAI Professional Fellows Program, sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, will place business and social entrepreneurs in small businesses, non-governmental organizations, and similar entities in 20 U.S. cities.  The participants, hosted by U.S. organizations, will further develop their business or social venture plans, learn from their U.S. counterparts, and share best practices.

Please find listed below the names and short biographies of the 2018 Haitian cohort:

  • Frantzia Augustin – Founder and CEO of Fafa Distribution, a fair-trade company that sells artwork made by independent Haitian women artists. The goal of Fafa Distribution is to empower Haiti’s female artists by giving them the opportunity to present and sell their products locally and worldwide.
  • Jeanida Azor is the Co-Founder and President of the Association Femmes d’Impact, an organization that provides social assistance to young mothers in Haiti. The organization provides professional development, entrepreneurship, and leadership training to prepare them for a future career.
  • Samuel Bastien is the Founder of the Health Education Project (HEP), an NGO that seeks to improve health education and awareness among Haiti’s most vulnerable communities. HEP members travel to cities and rural villages throughout the country, giving presentations in schools, churches, marketplaces, and on the streets.
  • Nadia Jean Charles is the Co-Founder and Treasurer of Haiti Femmes & TIC, an association of women employed in the sciences. Haiti Femmes & TIC provides scholarships and hosts workshops, seminars, and competitions for women interested in working in Communications and Information Technology.
  • Jupille Facile is the Founder and CEO of the Haitian bamboo company Bambou Facile. Bambou Facile uses its bamboo to ensure sustainable socio-economic, infrastructural and environmental development of the country.
  • Valesca Saint Cyr is the COO of Saint Apollonia Mobile Dental Clinic, a health organization that seeks to address the limited access, quality, and equity of dental care delivery in Haiti. Valesca’s organization sends specialists to communities throughout the Haiti, where they set up mobile clinics that treat locals who are unable to afford traditional dental care.
  • Emmanuel Tilias is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Haitian furniture company CG-Mèb Lakay. The company designs locally made furniture and prides itself on its efficient process and durable products.
  • Abner Volsaint is the CEO of La Confiserie Soulouquoise, a candy production company focused on creating sweets using organic ingredients. One of his company’s main products is Dous Makos, a flavored milk paste.
  • Sagine Zizi is the Founder, CEO, and Designer at Sazi Creations, a Haitian handbag company. Sazi Creations offers high-quality handbags using fabrics and techniques unique to their company.

The YLAI Professional Fellows Program will begin on September 20 in Detroit, Michigan.  Participants will then engage in four-week fellowships in cities throughout the U.S.  The program will conclude with a Closing Summit in Washington, DC.

The https://ylai.state.gov/ website includes information about the YLAI Professional Fellows Program and the YLAI Network.


For further information, please contact Information Officer/Press Attache Kedenard Raymond, RaymondKM@state.gov.