As a native son of Haiti, Jaury Jean-Enard will never stop believing in the promise of a better tomorrow for his people and on Saturday he will be giving back to his home country by participating in the Spring Run for Haiti the humanitarian aid group Concern Worldwide U.S. is hosting at Central Park.

“Although I moved back to Haiti this year, I wanted to come and run with the hope to raise the funds needed for some of the sanitation work and cleaning work they are doing in Cité Soleil,” said Jean-Enard who moved back to the island on March 6.

Jean-Enard works as a communications director for an NGO that develops the educational children series Lakou Kajou. He came back to the U.S. on Thursday to prepare for the four-mile jaunt on April 6 to help raise $100,000 for Cité Soleil and its 83,000 residents.

“It’s always good to be back home,” said Jean-Enard, who moved back to Haiti before in 2017. “The country has some overpopulation and still struggles with the same things like sewage. I call Haiti a paradise that is just not properly maintained.”

In 2015, government leaders in the Dominican Republic rescinded citizenship for over 500,000 of its people who were of Haitian descent or recent immigrants from Haiti. 

Unfortunately, Cité Soleil is considered the worst slum in the Western world, according to Concern Worldwide. The NGO believes that many of the island’s problems come from climate change that doesn’t stem from the people of Haiti, but it has resulted in the Caribbean country having intense natural disasters.

“We know it as a proud and vibrant community whose leaders and residents are committed to improving their lives,” according to Ed Kenney, the vice president for Communications at Concern Worldwide U.S. “It is characterized by extreme poverty and vulnerability, with persistent risk of flooding and disease, as its drainage canals are often choked with garbage that flows down from Port-au-Prince’s hilly terrain and it sits in a low lying area on the coast.”

Haiti had a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in 2010 and another disaster in 2016 when Hurricane Matthew – a Category 5 storm  – hit the country.

The funds will go towards clearing polluted waterways to fight disease, building resiliency in the community to prepare it to respond to life-threatening diseases, improving lives with literacy, numeracy, vocational training and life skills, and starting a cash fund grant program to support small businesses, according to Concern Worldwide U.S.

Concern Worldwide was founded in 1958 in Ireland and celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. This year marks the 21st anniversary of the run in Central Park, according to Kenney.

Check-in for the event is at 8 a.m., team photo time will be at 9 a.m. and the event starts at 9:30 a.m. at the 102 Street entrance of the park near the North Meadow Softball Field (#8), according to event organizers.

More than 500 people have helped to raise approximately $71,000 so far since February, according to Concern Worldwide’s website.

“I would encourage everyone that could run and that would like to run that ever seen a beautiful picture of Haiti, or heard of Haiti to run and learn about the country and learn about all the great things we are trying to make happen,” said Jean-Enard.

Naeisha Rose is a multimedia journalist and graduate of the Arts & Culture and Broadcast programs at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has experience working on independent short films, short documentaries, reality television shows, talk and web series as a Casting Associate, 1st AD and Production Assistant. She is a freelance writer with photography, voice over, social media, video production and video editing skills. She has worked as a General Assignment Reporter/Photojournalist for TimesLedger Newspapers, a Book Reviewer for Publishers Weekly and a Freelance Writer for LatinTrends Magazine.

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