image (1)-crop
image (3)

our History

The History of HAI

When Frere Herard was approached by a church in Ohio to start a Haitian organization in Indiana, the year was 2008. There were no more than a few dozen Haitian families in the city of Indianapolis. Outside of a small church that provided a sanctuary where some cultural religious rituals were observed every Sunday, no Haitian activities or events centered around Haiti, and its rich culture, existed.  

To achieve this vision that had been popular with Haitians in different states, Frere Herard, in his wisdom, contacted the following individuals: Leonce Jean-Baptiste, Nicole Lissade, Louis Paul, and Rev. Serge Montperous

This small group became the founding board members of the Haitian Association of Indiana. In the weeks that followed, a constitution and by-laws were drafted, and efforts were made to officially register the organization as a 501c3 entity…

The overarching goal set by this board was to make certain that Haitians were represented in the Hoosier state at all levels in anticipation of the arrival of new Haitian immigrants to our state. 

One of the first acts commissioned by the Board was the celebration of Haiti’s Flag Day on May 18th, 2008. This important historical and cultural event continues to be celebrated today in Indiana.

However, the 2010 devastating earthquake in Haiti was a major turning point for the organization.  Equipped with few resources, the newly formed organization was overwhelmed by the generous response and outpouring of support by Hoosiers.

Donations and calls-to-help were pouring in from everywhere. As a response to this magnificent demonstration of generosity, HAI quickly created a task force that included many churches, a variety of medical professionals, several local businesses, and many other local organizations to provide support to the mother land. 

The objective of the task force was to create a masterplan to help coordinate efforts aimed at bringing to bear all available local resources, a variety of skills sets, as well as financial support from all Hoosiers with interest in helping Haiti rescue and rebuilding efforts.

Through a series of fundraising activities HAI, along with sister organizations, local businesses and academic institutions sent many medical teams to assist with the first rescue mission. 

Through the efforts of all who started this organization, the work continues today unabated. Many who later joined the ranks are playing a tremendous role in assuring that the legacy of representing and helping local Haitians in Indiana as well as those at home remain a priority.