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FAQ - Frequently asked questions

A: Fondation Félicité are an Haitian based organisation named after the wife of the founder of Haiti - Emperor Jean Jacques Dessalines. Félicité Dessalines was the first Empress of independent Haiti.


FF was created on November 22, 1999 by a group of 50 Haitians who are passionate about history; and fuelled with a burning desire to ensure that a proper record of Haiti’s history be correctly documented and shared with the world. Taking their cue from Empress Félicité they decided to continue her legacy and work in the areas of education, health, tradition and most of all to further develop people's ability to share and be just. An important part of their mission is also to care for the elderly in particular those that are over 100 years old and the young.


Empress Félicité taught many Haitians to read and write including her husband the Emperor. Over the past ten years FF has empowered thousands of Haitians through its literacy program, and extensive work in disadvantaged communities including work with external agencies.


FF is a voluntary organisation. Their motto: do it (help the people) for the love of it!


Meet FF in Haiti [click here]

A: We are a not-for-profit organisation (UK) made up of everyday people who like so many other people around the world were deeply saddened by the earthquake that devastated Haiti on January 12, 2010. Friends of Fondation Félicité, has been specifically set up in order to help address some of the issues arising out of this horrific tragedy. We have teamed up with Fondation Marie Clare Félicité Bonheur Dessalines (FF), an organisation that has been working on the ground in Haiti for over 11 years. We work on a charitable basis supporting FF’s programs and work with young people in particular. Friends of Fondation Félicité  is listed as a charity for tax purposes by HM Revenue & Customs (UK).   Although our organisation was set up as a result of the earthquake disaster, we remain dedicated to supporting the Haitian community and their continued need and struggle for basic necessities.

A: Félicité Dessalines was the First Lady of Haiti. Marie Claire Heureuse Félicité Bonheur Dessalines (her full name) was a woman who experienced slavery.  She was born to a poor family in 1758 in Dominica and passed at the ripe old age of 110 years.

       Graveside of Empress Felicite Dessalines                                                              Students of Fondation Félicité in Haiti                                                                        Head of FF, Bayyinah Bello leads 

                                                                                                                             clean the graveside of Empress Felicite                                                                   a workshop on Empress Félicité 

She worked in the fields of education and health as a nurse, tending to the needs of the poor. It was she who instilled in Dessalines the rudiments of reading and writing.  Haitians recall that she was kind, so gentle, merciful and natural, with an elegant and cordial manner; so beautiful that even the murderers of her husband bowed down to her. She was made Empress Félicité of Haiti in 1804 upon the creation of the monarchy of Haiti, and crowned with her husband at the Church of Champ-de-Mars on 8th October 1804.
Marie Claire Heureuse Félicité took care of the sick soldiers, of the prisoners of the Revolutionary War. Such was her power and sense of justice that even the French stopped their canon firing while she ministered to the dying, the wounded on both sides of the battle. It has been said that this Haitian woman was the first Red Cross. She has had tremendous influence over her husband the most feared man of his time, a warrior, a great thinker and humanist. Félicité marched to the front alongside her husband during the War of Independence. True to her nature as a peace-loving woman her husband was not allowed to bring weapons into their home.
Haitians fondly remember her today during independence celebrations on January 1st, when the nation comes together to taste her famous independence pumpkin soup (jomou), one of many healthy recipes that she left as part of her legacy. She had organised the distribution of the soup in all major intersections of a newly liberated Haiti. She is also remembered on October 8th the day that she and Jean Jacques Dessalines were crowned Emperor and Empress of Haiti. Interestingly the founder of Haiti Toussaint L'Overture married the couple. They had four daughters and three sons together, including a pair of twins.

Q: Why should I donate my money to Friends of Fondation Félicité?
A: We are providing monetary support and camaraderie to a Haitian organisation that has been working throughout Haiti for over ten years. Fondation Félicité works tirelessly to address and meet the day-to-day needs of the Haitian people. One of the concerns that the public has with larger established charities is how much of the money goes to the actual intended beneficiaries.

Friends of Fondation Félicité has taken the time to speak with Haitian earthquake survivors. We have been informed that Haitians see very little of the ‘international’ aid reaching the people or grassroots organisations that better understand what is needed and how to distribute those resources.  With Friends of Fondation Félicité all donations donated from the public will go directly to FF in Haiti.  We have found that this is the most effective way of working.

Click here to read earthquake survivor stories and learn how you can help Haitians today

A: In accordance with the rules that regulate limited companies our accounts will be made publicly available annually.  As we are a new organisation, our accounts will not be published until December 2011.

A: All payments made online through our website are conducted through the PayPal facility. PayPal protects your financial information with industry-leading security and fraud prevention systems. When you use PayPal, your financial information is not shared with the merchant. Once your payment is complete, you will be emailed a receipt for this transaction.

Q: How can you ensure that my personal information will be protected?
A:We take appropriate measures to ensure that the information you share with us is kept secure, accurate and up to date and kept only for so long as is necessary for the purposes for which it is used.

Q: How do I make a donation to Friends of Fondation Félicité?
A: You can make a donation via our Donate Now section on this site. There are a number of ways you can give online including, credit card or bank account using our gift aid, via our PayPal facility, arranging a standing order or single donations via our Lloyds TSB account.

You can also make a group/organisation donation or hold a fundraising event.

Q: What is Gift Aid?

A: Under the Government's Gift Aid scheme, the basic rate tax paid on donations made by UK taxpayers can be claimed, meaning if you are a UK taxpayer your donation could be worth at least 25% more, at no extra cost to you.

For example, if you give £20, and you Gift Aid your donation, HM Revenue and Customs will add at least £4.50, bringing the total donation to at least £24.50. If you are a higher rate taxpayer, you can claim the difference between the higher rate of tax and the basic rate of tax on your Self Assessment Tax Return. 

A: Donations and revenues will be sent directly to Fondation Félicité in Haiti, who works with young people and the elderly. Please go to the FF in Haiti page for more information.

Q: Does Friends of Fondation Félicité sell products online?
A: Yes, we do. You can purchase a range of gifts and t-shirts from our online shop.

Q: Do you produce a newsletter?
A: Yes, we keep you up to date with our latest news, events and campaigns within the UK along with updates on activities happening within Haiti.

Q: How can I get involved with Friends of Fondation Félicité?
A: You can support our work in many different ways. The best way to do this is to click on the link below and then fill out the contact form to find out how you can get involved or to let us know if you have a fundraising activity in mind that you would like to discuss.
Let us know the details and we will always aim to answer all messages as promptly as possible. We are also always pleased to develop new relationships with companies.  Contact us.

Q: Can I donate items like clothes, shoes and blankets to help the people in Haiti?

A: Friends of Fondation Félicité does not send clothes and blankets overseas. Customs regulations, fumigation of second-hand items, transport and communications make the process of exporting second hand items very complicated, time consuming and  expensive. Money goes much further, and will better support the organisation we are working with.

One of the best ways to support our work in Haiti is to give money. A donation of any kind can make a very real difference to the lives of Haitians affected by the earthquake. To make a donation [click here]

Q: I have noticed two spellings for FF - Fondation Félicitéand Fondasyon Félicité what is the difference?
A: Haitians speak both Haitian and French. On FF literature in Haiti both Fondation and Fondasyon are used interchangeably. Fondation is the French way of saying Foundation (English spelling). Fondasyon is the Haitian way of saying Foundation (Creole). Both words mean the same thing. We have often been asked at Friends of Fondation Félicité why have we spelt Fondation wrong. We haven't, we have decided to use the French pronunciation for ease of pronunciation and uniformity but most importantly because we are friends of Fondation Félicité and so use their spelling of Fondation. However on our slogan 'Helping Haitians Build A Stronger Foundation', you will see have used the English spelling - a play on words.

A: Our logo symbolises the Phoenix rising from the ashes. In ancient mythology, a phoenix is an immortal bird that, when it dies, bursts into flames and is reborn from its own ashes. Our symbol therefore is an affirmation for Haitians. Haiti will, like the phoenix, rise from the ashes of the earthquake and make a miraculous comeback. 


If you have any further questions send us an email via our contact page and we will be pleased to respond.



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