In the Beginning.
EJF was founded in May 2005, as a 501C(3), by Marie Rosemonde Joseph, MEd, RN, a Haitian-American nurse, Gilda Jean-Louis, MA, MDiv (c), missionary to Haiti and Wendy Cadet Owe, director of Ebonyartsgallery.com.
The founders initially felt called during a missionary visit in August 2004. During the visit, Marie provided free consultation for the street merchants in the town where their grandmother and great grandmother were street merchants. Gilda documented the health conditions of these merchants and distributed humanitarian supplies that were donated by various supporters. Marie, a nurse educator and co-founder of the Haitian Nurses Association of Boston, also launched a health promotion through the Future Haitian Nurse Youth Program with the assistance of Wendy Cadet Owe. The program served 60 youth and young adults and was sponsored by the Archdiocese and the Department of Social Services of Haiti. Although Marie Joseph lost her battle with cancer and passed away in October 2005, the legacy lives on and will be carried by the Board of Directors of the foundation.
About The Woman Who Inspired Us – Elise Joseph
Elise Joseph was a Haitian-American single parent of four children; mother of Marie Rosemonde Joseph and Gilda Jean-Louis and grandmother of Wendy Cadet Owe. In Haiti, Elise was a merchant and business owner. She immigrated to the United States in 1968 through the sponsorship of her eldest daughter Marie Rosemonde. In 1969, they sponsored the remaining family to immigrate to the United States with legal permanent residence immigration status.
Elise strongly believed in the value of education and that America is a land where educational goals can be achieved for all people and at any age. She was proud of her Haitian ancestry and her people. Despite her own poverty in Haiti, she often helped others in need by providing food for the homeless in the streets of Port-Au-Prince; particularly, women with children. So much so that in Brooklyn, New York, she often pulled Gilda out of school to translate for friends and acquaintances in need of medical and social services. Elise did not realize that she was planting the seeds of social justice in the lives of her children; setting the example and establishing a legacy of advocacy and social service in her family. Elise Joseph died of cancer of the spine in July 1984.
During Marie Rosemonde and Gilda’s first and last missionary journey together in August 2004, they were affirmed of the calling to serve Haitian families and inspired to establish the Elise Joseph Foundation in May 2005 in honor of their mother. Marie Rosemonde Joseph died of gastric cancer in October 2005. Gilda Jean-Louis is a kidney cancer survivor.
Join us! Help us continue this legacy for a brighter Haitian future. Please give a financial donation, no amount is too small, and subscribe to our “News and Events’.
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