Wednesday 13 December 2017

Employee of charity backed by Irish firms is killed in Haiti

Help is at hand: A child washing at sanitation point provided by an Irish charity in Haiti
Help is at hand: A child washing at sanitation point provided by an Irish charity in Haiti

Tom Lyons

An employee of the Soul of Haiti Foundation – a charity backed by several well known Irish businessmen and sporting figures – was killed in the last two weeks in an incident in the troubled Caribbean country's capital of Port-au-Prince.

Daniel Luma Fleurantin, a long-term driver and local security adviser to the charity, was shot while mediating in a dispute.

In a statement, the philanthropic organisation – which was founded in 2007 by finalists of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Programme – said: "The Soul of Haiti Foundation is saddened to confirm that a Haitian employee of the foundation, Daniel Luma Fleurantin, was killed in an incident in Port-au-Prince on Saturday night.

"Daniel was a much loved and respected member of the team. The board and staff offer their deepest condolences to his family and friends," the Soul of Haiti added.

The Soul of Haiti is chaired by businessman Michael Carey and has been supported by leading Irish companies including Beacon Medical, Ion Equity, Country Crest, H&K Kitchens, Grant Engineering, Hibernia College, Tweak.com, Bowen Construction and the Gift Voucher Shop.

Fleurantin was well known and liked by the Irish business people he helped on their frequent visits to Haiti – one of the poorest but most resilient countries in the world.

Soul of Haiti was set up to help small businesses and encourage entrepreneurship in Haiti through investment as well as mentoring.

The charity has led a number of initiatives in Haiti, which was devastated by an earthquake in January 2010, including setting up a model farm to teach agricultural methods and refurbishing a bakery in the slum area of St Martin in Port-au-Prince.

It has also supplied solar panels to fishing villages and invested in an orphanage on the island of Ile a Vache, off the coast of the main island of Haiti, among other projects.

Irish business people have played a crucial role in the philanthropic field in Haiti, with Denis O'Brien's Digicel Foundation being the largest single investor, putting over €18m into building 90 schools to date.

Haven, a house-building charity founded by Leslie Buckley, the chairman of Independent News & Media, is also a significant supporter.

Sunday Independent

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