Monday, August 29, 2011

Junau goes to college

Junau DeLouis Louis-Jean & his American mom, Karen. 2011. Scottsdale, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Let me introduce you to Junau. He's a photographer's dream — I mean, look at that smile. Junau is all smiles, all the time. I guess that's why an entire organization fell in love with him.

Junau is from Le Cayes, Haiti. He's a smart kid. He excelled in high school, but like most Haitians he wouldn't be going to college and most likely couldn't find a job — more than two thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs. Enter Global Family Philanthropy.

Volunteers from this small, grassroots Phoenix-based organization met Junau in Haiti earlier this year and in a matter of months found a college that would fund a partial scholarship for the aspiring medical student. Volunteers have started raising funds for the remaining tuition.

Junau arrived to the US in late July. He was greeted by a crowd of cheering GFP volunteers. After a crazy two weeks of sight-seeing — which included beaches in California, the Grand Canyon, horseback riding, golf and roller coasters (which he did not enjoy) — Junau is now in Kansas and settled into his Hesston College dorm with a Napalese roommate named Ash.

Welcome to Phoenix. 2011. Phoenix, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Education is everything to Junau. He knows it's the only way for a Haitian to get ahead. He talks openly about political corruption and his vision for Haiti. He loves his country, but he knows she has a long way to go. He cares for his family, focuses on his studies and volunteers — which is how he met the folks with GFP.

Junau worked side-by-side with GFP volunteers this year as they finished construction on a home for abandoned children. The home has 19 children ranging in ages from infants to nine years old. The home is just outside Junau's hometown on 16 acres of sustainable farmland.

Junau's fluency in English, French and Kreyòl helped GFP connect with children in need — including Schneider, a small boy who was living for months in a public hospital after being abandoned. Ultimately, Junau wants to be a doctor and return to Haiti to work with children. 

Getting to know Junau. 2011. Flagstaff, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

Jenga Champ. 2011. Flagstaff, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography
Junau and Lori. 2011. Scottsdale, AZ. ©Jill Richards Photography

If you would like to learn more about GFP, visit GFP will be hosting a dinner fundraiser at Roaring Fork in Scottsdale on Sunday, Sept. 4. Tickets are $75 and all proceeds go towards Junau's tuition. For more information:

1 comment:

  1. Great pics and a wonderful story. Best of luck to Junau at Hesston! I wish continued success for GFP and those they help in Haiti.