Updated: Jul 4, 2021
Dlo Pou Viv!
(Water to Live)
Interviewed by: Kathia Pierre
Written by :
Photographed by: Flaco
Soraya Denis-Papillon was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, but spent her early years up to six in Haiti. She is a mother and a wife and currently resides in South Florida. Soraya loves children and finds purpose by supporting and giving back to those who are in need. Her motivation stems from her daughter, and she also draws inspiration from the children she supports in Haiti.
Soraya is the founder of Dlo Pou Viv (Water to Live), a nonprofit organization established in 2011 based in New York City but functioning solely in Haiti to advocate for water sustainability. Located in Laplaine, Haiti, it is also an educational hub providing after-school services to two-hundred-fifty (250) students between the ages of five to eighteen. Their goal is to educate the community about water sustainability and its impact on children, specifically the girls. They are often responsible for fetching water which usually means less time for school. Educating and highlighting the importance of safe and clean water infrastructure benefits the community and the schools.
Dlo Pou Viv successfully built their first water well on campus, which serves the nearby neighborhoods by providing clean water. They also support the schools by providing supplies, clothing, and scholarship funds to assist parents purchase uniforms for their children. The long-term goal for the organization is to make a global impact, become a household name, establish different chapters advocating for clean water, and how to treat it with solar disinfection.
Working in Haiti has taught Soraya many lessons. She has learned to overcome the challenges of working within the boundaries and logistics of a foreign country. Moreover, she also realized the importance of being resourceful; building the right connections and relationships. Soraya learned a lot about herself through Dlo Pou Viv. She said
“I am less selfish and more trusting in allowing the organization to grow as God intended naturally. It's okay to take a step back and let your staff lead and come up with ideas and suggestions.” Her advice to others interested in making a difference, particularly in Haiti, is to “research and research. Learn what the United Nations and world health organizations are saying and what kind of conversation they have about water instability. And do your part by making small changes in your own daily lives for a better environment.”
Soraya is also the co-founder of Women who Inspire Women, a women empowerment movement in Brooklyn, New York, founded in 2016; They honor trailblazers and emerging leaders within the community. Women whom children could look up.
Soraya’s motto in life is, “we are on this earth to serve as our purpose gets redefined as we continue to age. When you do good, good will come back to you.”
Soraya's unrelenting drive to advocate for a better community and clean drinking water for all while inspiring women to be a better version of themselves are the reasons why she is a Fanm Potomitan.
If you would like to get involved, you can email the organization here. You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram. If you do, make sure you wish them a happy tenth anniversary because this July, they will be celebrating their tenth year in operation.
Dlo Pou Viv! - Check them out!