About Grand Bois
Grand-Bois is the hometown of Edwidge Dorelien's father. It is located in the Département de l'Ouest, the center of which is about 37 miles (60 kilometers) east of Port-Au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, and near the Dominican border. A single, unpaved road bisects the region, which measures approximately 200 square miles (518 square kilometers) and is bordered to the south by Lake Étang Saumâtre and to the east by the Dominican Republic. Residential areas cluster around sources of water, which include small ponds, lakes, and a stream that is dry for a portion of the year. The population is organized in small villages and townships.
Grand-Bois is a rural community in Haiti in need of everything. There is little or no accessibility to electricity, telephone, postal services, television or radio signals, or internet. It is lacking basic social services, most importantly, schools. According to a 2003 census, the population of Grand-Bois was estimated at approximately 65,000 inhabitants, 25,000 of whom are under the age of 18, and approximately 70% of whom work as subsistence farmers. The lack of schools and the poor living conditions in Grand-Bois have caused parents to move towards larger cities in Haiti, as well as to the Dominican Republic, where many migrate for months to find jobs in order to support their families. During their absences, the children of the village are often left alone and without appropriate guidance and care. Nevertheless, we strongly believe that with more opportunities Grand-Bois can and will become a more viable and successful community.