“I often tell people to not be fooled by Keny's seemingly quiet demeanor.” Erika Charles, Espere’s Director of Programs, explains. “He is compassionate, professional, determined, insightful, and dependable. Keny has been the backbone of Espere from the beginning.”
Keny Desir started as a Mental Health worker when Espere opened its doors and he has now taken on the role of Director of Logistics. Erika elaborates, “He has worked miracles expertly navigating through the endless piles of bureaucratic red tape in countless government offices to get needed paperwork. He takes his leadership responsibilities seriously by organizing meetings, reminding everyone about their commitments, and continuously looking for ways to strengthen the unity of the team.” When asked to explain his involvement with Espere, Keny smiles, “I work in almost every program.”
Keny studied psychology at University, and that’s how he met Espere’s co-founders, Erika Charles and Keely Brooks. Keny remembers, “One day I received a message. ‘Keny, we have an activity. There is no money. I don’t know if you could take part with us.” After a little reflection, “I said, no problem.” Keny started out helping with the Mental Health Certificate Program and “day by day I become more involved.”
Keny explained that during his classes, the things they discussed didn’t always feel real to him. “I was studying psychology but there were some reactions people can have, and I would think, ‘why?’ But [with Espere] I would meet people and hear their stories. People can have different reactions faced with different challenges. Some people are born with handicaps… Before I was at Espere, I would never approach people who have special needs. No! But with Espere I see that they do need help, and we need to help them. Me, I am ready to help.” Reflecting on his time with Espere so far, “What I learned is to understand people who have problems. I understand more.”
Keny, like all Espere staff, has been giving his time to Espere as a volunteer. This creates a real challenge. “Espere can’t pay me. But I need money to do everything. Espere can’t pay me, but I don’t see a Keny who will leave Espere.” Keny motivation comes from his desire to work for the greater good. “In Haiti, there are not many doing the work that we do.” He described how whenever he meets someone new, and Espere comes up, they congratulate Espere. “I understand there are some people more interested in money. There are also some people who understand that they could help in building the future.” Keny’s motivation is clear to those around him. Erika shared, “His passion clearly stems from his desire to serve the underserved. His understanding and compassion for each child, teen, and adult he works with is inspiring. Espere and Haiti is a better place because of Keny's daily service.”
In Keny’s future, he hopes to become a Deputy – a Haitian congressman. He explains, “Deputies are people who control the actions the executive power makes. Deputies make some laws. As you know, Haiti is a poor country. There are Deputies that create development agendas – constructing public buildings, making roads, etc. I want to help as many people as I can.”
‘Helping as many people as possible’ is also reflected in his dreams for Espere. Keny explained that he hopes Espere will move into a larger office, where we could also lodge interns and volunteers. He also hopes, “Espere can cover Haiti and be in some other countries that need help in what we do.” He hopes that Espere will form partnerships with “every organization that works for human wellbeing.” Keny would like everyone to know, “that they could try to help people that need help. Espere is open to work with everyone, and every institution that works for human wellbeing. Maybe they can’t help Espere, just help people in their communities. That’s a good thing.”
If you would like to support our team of Mental Health Workers you can do so by clicking the donate button and noting the donation is for the Mental Health Workers in the description. Donations pay for transportation to appointments, phone credit and meals on training days. Donations are not currently tax-deductible.