"I respect and value the role of Haiti in the journey of humanity, I sense the ongoing fight for self-determination and sovereignty, that’s the very essence of Ayiti, and definitely, I can serve that"
Our founder Alex Lizzappi is a successful entrepreneur in Miami fighting for children’s social justice in Haiti. His purpose in life is to take action to help Restavek break free from the cycle of poverty and domestic servitude by providing them with an emotionally nurturing place to live and the educational skills for a better life. His dedication to helping Restavek children grows out of his own experiences as a marginalized child. As a child, Alex was able to change the direction of his life with the support of others.
"Among much rejection and indifference, I found also hope and faith in myself thanks to few people that shared their humanity. People that truly helped to carry the weight and shed light. People that made the difference against their best interest, that invested in my well-being and they had no obligations whatsoever, people that saved my life when I had no vision into the next hour and everything seemed lost"
Born in Italy to a drug-addicted mother and a violent father, Alex spent most of his childhood in an orphanage. By age sixteen, he was homeless and struggling to survive. However, he was able to rise above these circumstances by bravely reaching out for help.
When Alex first visited Haiti, he was devastated by the situation there. Although he traveled extensively, the profound poverty and its impact on children were worse than anything he had ever seen before. He felt compelled to act and in 2010 he founded Haiti Now after making several more visits and witnessing the destruction brought on by the 2010 earthquake.
Since then, Haiti Now has been focused on empowering the most vulnerable and disenfranchised demographic in Haitian society—its children.
" I was selling heroin to hard-core addicts at 6. Most of the time I spent with my mother was thru a prison glass. Police brutality at gunpoint and watching my mother beaten by police to make me snitch was the norm. I buried most people I knew by 18, including my parents, with the exception of my grandparents, which they played an ambiguous role of support and distance, indeed, I am an immigrant. I did not have anyone, the family kept safety distance. I was homeless at 16 while my mother was dying of AIDS. I was fighting a terminal disease with all the social stigma of AIDS in the late 80s, losing my mother slowly until it turned a black skeleton of 30 kg. I have survived poverty, disease, marginalization, violence, crime, prison, aids, addiction, and police brutality, I bounced back from all, for me is a matter of equity and justice."
- Alex Lizzappi, Founder, Ayiti Now Corp
(Ayiti, the name of the country, is translated Haiti)