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Zanmi Lakay is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for current and former street children in Haiti by providing educational and economic opportunities and resources to help these children while they are on the streets and to help build a life for them off the streets.

Zanmi Lakay's Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto 2015 Calendar is here! Support our students' work and our programs, and enjoy their beautiful images all year long. What a great gift idea!

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2014 Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto – July 26 – August 5, 2014

The youth of Haiti have almost no tools to take part in the modern world. Our program helped them take a first step with cameras, and now we’re taking greater strides teaching business development, computer classes, and job training.

We need your help to continue providing this critical training and empower 32 advanced photography students ages 12-21 during our 10-day Photo Camp in July and August in Jacmel, Haiti, called Jouk Li Jou Kan Foto. Jouk Li Jou is a Haitian saying that means working hard to see a better life, and we’ll keep fighting to the end.

How Zanmi Lakay Began…

During my first trip to Haiti in 1997, I lived at Lafanmi Selavi, a home created for street children by Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1986 when he was still a parish priest. Close to 500 children found their way to Lafanmi Selavi for a variety of reasons. Some were orphans or abandoned, others had been abused, many families could not afford to take care of their kids, and many were restaveks or child slaves. I took their pictures and got to know them during the years I worked on my documentary project and held Photography Workshops.

When Lafanmi Selavi closed in 2000, many children no longer had the opportunity to go to school, a place to sleep, food and clothing, sports, music, art, or a family that their former home provided. Street life was harsh, miserable, and dangerous and they needed help. They wanted to go to school, a place to live, to be safe, and to contribute to society. Zanmi Lakay was created because of the growing needs of street children in Haiti, and the seed was the Photography Workshops.

Our School Scholarship Program

Zanmi Lakay’s Education Fund is a School Scholarship Program and a Teens in Transition Program. We are working to elevate a community of street children by giving them an education to break the cycle of life that has them living on the streets. This simple purpose of our Education Fund is to give children the chance to go to school, and for young adults to finish their education or receive special training that would otherwise not have the possibility.

Our Program Administrator in Haiti, Joel Petion, helps to gather student and family information, and pays all needed fees directly to the schools. We pair children with sponsors. As the second generation of street children from Lafanmi Selavi, who these children are and the connections we have with their parents is unique. Most of these children know each other – their parents are friends and orphans who grew up together, and almost all of our School Sponsorship recipients are children of children I knew when I first came to Haiti. None of them would be going to school if they weren’t enrolled in our program.

Get Involved

Photo Advisory Board

Come to Haiti and assist in the Photography Workshops, outreach services, and field trips. Help us out in our home office with data entry, assembling Care Packages, sorting donations, updating our database, and processing orders. Organize a school or community donation drive for the kids. Host a Ti Maché or photo exhibit.We have an incredible archive of photographs taken by street children in Haiti from our 15 years of teaching Photography Workshops, and we need help producing products, ideas, and creating exhibitions to share their visual stories with the World.

Fundraiser and Volunteer

We collect these donations from private individuals, at our Ti Machés, and collaborate with schools organizing class projects, events and presentations about Haiti and the street children. We need your help. All of our programs are funded with personal contributions and proceeds from our Ti Maché sales. We are a 501(c)(3) organization - all donations are tax deductible. Your contributions help to pay for children’s school fees, books and supplies, rent and living expenses, trade school expenses, clothing and food, medical appointments,and Photography Workshops.

Schedule a Slide Presentation

Schedule a slide presentation in your home, school or community. Many local schools have participated in donation drives after viewing informational slide presentations about Haiti and the children’s lives. Others have conducted special photography workshops of their own using the Haiti Street Children’s Photography Workshops as a model. We invite these and other ideas for creating awareness and helping out the kids


We are actively seeking interested and dedicated people to join our Advisory Board and our Board of Directors. Please contact us if these opportunities appeal to you.

Email: info@zanmilakay.org
Phone: 650.359.6225