Jeantilia and her daughters Felina (16), Yanirisa (14) and Milka (12) are one of Good Thread’s biggest success stories. Jeantilia’s girls have been part of the Joan Rose Foundation (JRF) since it opened in 2010*. Jeantilia was also one
of the first four women employed with Good Threads, and she has managed to take her family from lower class economic status to middle class in just a few short years. All of her girls are now on track to attend college.
“From left, Yanirisa, Milka, Jeantilia, and Felina pose at the Joan Rose Foundation”
Jeantilia is a hard-working, light hearted, and exceptional woman. She is an excellent and loving mother. She has always strived for excellence and made providing for her family one of her greatest priorities. One decision she made that exemplifies these traits is her decision to stay single until her girls are grown and out of the house. Unfortunately, incest and molestation are significant problems in Haiti, especially when step-fathers or live-in-boyfriends enter the family unit. Some women actually send their teenage daughters to a grandparent when a new man moves in to the home, specifically avoid this problem. Other women accept the risk. Jeantilia has never entertained either idea and is very up front about putting her girls best interest ahead of her own personal needs.
“Jeantilialialia poses with her girls in front of their house in Jacmel, 2016.”
Jeantilia’s girls are all amazing, and we are incredibly optimistic about theirfuture. Felina, the oldest, is exceptionally smart. She is responsible, kind, hard-working, and also a bit shy. The next oldest girl, Yanirisa, has thrived in dance class and is very outgoing. She is one of the most popular girls at the JRF and is one of the stars of dance class. She and three other girls are part of Dieufel Lamisere’s “HaitiDanceCo” and will be going to the Dominican Republic for some
training in April. Milka, the youngest, is a truly sweetheart. She is very social, and in her 6 1⁄2 years at the JRF she has basically never misbehaved!
When Good Threads started its savings program, designed to educate families on the concepts and benefits of money-saving,Jeantilia was the most active and enthusiastic of savers. Every time Jeantilia turned in a needlepoint belt, she would put 20% of her earnings into a savings account. In doing so she was able to save over a thousand dollars in the first year and a half of the program. Saving is a concept that is foreign to most Haitians, and this accomplishment by Jeantilia is extraordinary. She also learned that she could profit from her savings and help her friends and family by establishing a loaning program, as there are no fair avenues for Haitians to borrow money. In doing so Jeantilia
was able to start making interest on he money, increase her earnings, and help others in the community.
Recently, Jeantilia has used her savings to buy a piece of land and a house in her hometown in Northern Haiti. She plans on renting out the house for now, and possibly retiring to it once her daughters finish high school. She also started a small business in her home, where she sells drinking water to the local community.
This family exemplifies what Good Threads has accomplished and continues to work towards. Good Threads and the JRF are passionate about empowering women with the skills and tools to break the cycle of poverty. With the help of the meal program of the JRF, Jeantilia has had enough financial breathing room to save money and create financial security and wealth for her family. The superior school in which the JRF has enrolled her daughters will ensure that these young women can attend college.
Jeantilia may be our best example of a woman who has taken full advantage of our services to improve her family’s place in the community. Prior to the Joan Rose Foundation and Good Threads, Jeantilia struggled to provide enough food to feed her girls. Through hard work and the opportunity afforded through Good Threads and the JRF, Jeantilia has elevated her economic status and been able to attain many of the joys in life that are often taken for granted in developed countries. We at Good Threads are confident that Jeantilia and her family have truly broken free from the cycle of poverty.