International Women’s Day: Mache Lakay


The focus of International Women’s Day 2012 is rural women. In honor of this day, I’ve posted one of my favorite photo essays on a women’s cooperative in rural Haiti.

The Mouvman Peyizan Papay or the Peasant Movement of Papay is the oldest and largest peasant movement in Haiti. The cooperative is nearly 40 years-old with over 60,000 plus members and an education facility located in the heart of  Haiti, the Central Plateau.  No individual may join MPP only collectives.The goal of MPP is to educate and empower.

The collective offers their members instruction in women’s health and advocacy and  gender equality while providing sound economic and work alternatives to the people of Haiti. The cooperatives  are trained by licensed Agronomists  in environmental and sustainable  farming methods.

Pictured here is KOPA  Mache Lakay or  home market cooperative. The cooperative owned and operated by three women is a roaring success. Their cooperative provides the employment alternative to the bateys in the Dominican Republic. Their secret double roasted butter is sold throughout Haiti. Their cooperative and MPP at-large provides the humanitarian means to financial independence in Haiti while contributing to a healthy and stable family environment.

The images above were recorded using a Canon 10-d camera while on assignment with Direct Relief International and the American Jewish World Service.

A selection from this set of photographs will be featured in my exhibit “Women’s Empowerment: A Global Perspective” at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County.

This exhibit with support from the Holocaust Center, I am dedicating to my mother Eduvigen Fuentes, my friend, compañera and source of strength. She never let me give up.

Thank you for reading.

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