Campaign: Donate to intercultural exchange of Haitian journalists with Costaricans

August 15, 2011

The importance of independent media coverage from women’s perspectives and also international solidarity became all too evident with the terrible earthquake in January 2010, and struggle to recover on the tiny island of Haiti.  Three Haitian feminist journalists are going to Costa Rica for an exchange with ESCRIBANA for language training during the month of September, 2011.  All are part of the Women’s Network of Community Radios (REFRAKA).

Marie Guyrleine Justin is a journalist and radio producer, coordinator of the REFRAKA Network in Haiti. Imelienne Ulysse is a journalist and program coordinator of this same network, and François Marie Angel, is their translator for French and Creole on the radio.

The three are survivors of the massive earthquake in their country on January 12, 2011, but have struggled to rise above it, doing intensive work for women producers of community radio in Haiti to enable them to continue broadcasting, train and re-develop their social organizations.

Although it is not the mission of ESCRIBANA to provide scholarships to women, the three Haitians have asked us to bring them to Costa Rica for intensive Spanish classes, to deepen their understanding of gender & communications issues through exchanges with women and women’s groups, and to become familiar with the women’s movement in Costa Rica.  The month long respite will also provide rest for the women and restore their energy to keep moving ahead with their work back home in Haiti.

The intercultural exchange

Puerto Viejo of Limon on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica was the location selected by ESCRIBANA for the Haitians to learn Spanish and also participate in exchanges with the African and indigenous women of that area. The visitors will be received by the Association of Afro Women of Cocles, a group of small entrepreneurs who live near Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, on the southern Caribbean Coast. They will also meet with the indigenous women of the Talamanca Bribri, and women’s and feminist activists from San José.

To enable these exchanges and language training for the Haitians, ESCRIBANA has been organizing voluntary contributions for food, logistics, accommodations and Spanish classes with a certified teacher.
Additionally, the journalist and activist, Beverly Bell of “Other Possible Worlds” and who has spent considerable time and is strongly committed to Haiti, is very enthusiastic about the initiative and the possibilities of building a more permanent collaboration with ESCRIBANA and REFRAKA.  Bell will be traveling to Costa Rica during the Haitian journalists’ stay to collaborate on a communications plan to develop training in creative writing to women in the displacement camps back in Haiti.


Originally the request to travel to Costa Rica was made by the REFRAKA Campaign “Mano a mano (Hand in hand) with the women of Haiti,” coordinated by María Suárez Toro (now ESCRIBANA).  With funds from Feminist International Radio Endeavour (FIRE), Marie Guyrleine of REFRAKA received a scholarship to participate in the 10th World Association of Community Radios (AMARC) in Argentina.
It was in this context that the REFRAKA radio women recognized their urgent need to learn Spanish to be able to connect effectively with other broadcasters on the continent. They asked FIRE and also Mano a Mano for support, but neither organization currently has sufficient resources available for the project.
As a result, ESCRIBANA has organized this initiative based on new ways of locating resources through small voluntary contributions, both from organizations and also individuals, in the form of money or in-kind contributions.
ESCRIBANA will publish on our blog ( how the funds will be used and also will provide receipts if requested.
Funds and resources gathered so far:

  • ESCRIBANA will donate $ 300
  • FIRE – Feminist International Radio Endeavour will donate $ 200
  • Afro Women’s Association of Puerto Viejo/Cocles will cover the meeting between their community and the Haitian women
  • The Caricola in Puerto Viejo has offered lodging during the 30 days of their visit at a special price (which should cover ESCRIBANA).???
  • One of the Afro-Caribbean women who is a caterer will make lunches at minimal cost every day (ESCRIBANA must cover the cost).
  • A professor of Spanish in Puerto Viejo will provide language classes at a special price
  • An Afro-Caribbean partner of the Association of Afro Women will serve as a guide for the women during their stay in Puerto Viejo.

The Haitians have contributed the cost of their tickets to Costa Rica will also pay the fees for the Spanish classes.

Call for international solidarity:

You can contribute to this innovative campaign by sending your contribution to the bank account of the Institute of Women’s Community Development and Communications, Inc.(affiliated with ESCRIBANA)  of Costa Rica or directly to REFRAKA in Haiti, noting if you prefer that the money be used for a specific expense or for whatever is needed.
The costs associated with this project that still need to be covered, and which are the focus of this campaign include:

  • $300 advance fee from a Spanish teacher and materials
  • $ 250 internal transportation between San Jose, Puerto Viejo, in Puerto Viejo, to the Reserve Bribri and back to San Jose.
  • $500 rent for a house where the Haitian women will stay, and that also serves as a classroom space for the language training.
  • $2,500 for food for the Haitians during the month.
  • $1,000 for logistical work before and during the stay.
  • $800 language course fee organization, and exchanges related to gender and communications issues.


To send donations to bank account affiliated with ESCRIBANAS:

Cuenta del Instituto Comunitario de Mujeres en Desarrollo y Comunicaciones, S. A:

Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, sucursal Ciudad Colon, 200-02-000-532464-0


Tel. 506 2249 1027

To send donations directly to REFRAKA in Haiti, write to for information.


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