Since its inception, HAI has touched countless individuals through its various programs. HAI’s programs are funded mostly through the generosity of its leadership team and good-hearted people of the Haitian community and friends of Haiti in Indiana. The yearly events, mainly the Haitian Flag Day Celebration, provide about half of the operating funds for the Association. HAI’s areas of focus consist of the following:
HAI believes that while we strive to successfully integrate into our new community we must also maintain our own cultural identity. Showing respect to other communities that we interact with and bringing diversity to the greater Indianapolis area, HAI advocates for the Haitian community as well as their individual needs, and hopes to expand the local community’s knowledge and understanding of the Haitian population. HAI also serves as a gateway to further enhancing the newcomers’ integration into the area.
HAI engages with the stakeholders and service providers in our community–businesses, community based organizations, non-profits, neighborhood associations, churches, government agencies, educational institutions, leaders and policy makers – through events, meetings and presentations. With the philosophy and belief of a reciprocal engagement and benefits system, HAI is committed to providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services to the population as well as helping the service providers and neighbors in our community.
HAI also seeks to engage, support and connect with friends of Haiti and missionaries throughout the state that support Haiti and advocate on its behalf.
In HAI’s quest to successfully integrate members of our community into the larger Indiana community, Education is one of the critical arms of our philosophy. HAI has developed and implemented the following programs:
Kids Corner – Kids Corner is a new Club for all children ages 5 to 15 years. Children are exposed to Haitian culture with rotating themes about Haitian history, traditions, food, holidays, and much more! This program was initiated as a tool to connect children of Haitian descent, children adopted from Haiti, and children of Friends of Haiti to the Haitian Culture and to instill pride in their identity and their curiosity.
Haitian Creole Classes – The goal of this program is to teach basic Creole structure, vocabulary, grammar, literacy and basic conversation skills to students with little or no knowledge of the Creole language. Participants learn to read, write, speak, and understand some basic conversational themes. The goal is to:
- Introduce students to the Creole language through listening, speaking, reading and writing.
- Focus on grammar elements to expand literacy.
- Encourage conversational dialogues
- Provide cultural awareness and appreciation of the Creole language, the Haitian culture and traditions.
ESL Classes – One of the first steps in support of integrating the Haitian population in Indiana is to reduce and eventually remove any communication barriers. Just like the Creole program, the goal is to teach basic conversational skills to students with very limited knowledge of English. In some cases, we also partner with other local institutions such as the Excel Center to provide further support in that area.
When we talk about the value of arts and culture to society, we always start with its intrinsic value: how arts and culture can illuminate our inner lives and enrich our emotional world. This is what we cherish.
At HAI, we also understand that arts and culture has a wider, more measurable impact on our economy, health and wellbeing, and the identity of our community.
It is important that we recognize this impact to help our community think of Haitian arts and culture for what it is and what it means to us: a way to stay connected to our Haitian Identity. It is also vitally important to us that share our rich culture so we can connect better, work more collaboratively, better integrate in our community in Indiana.