Founder, Ayiti Now Corp
("Ayiti", the name of the country in Haitian Creole, is translated to "Haiti" in French)
""I value Haiti's contribution to the journey of humanity, and the ongoing fight for self-determination and sovereignty. I serve this very essence of Ayiti.""
Alex's Story ...
Our founder, Alex Lizzappi, is an entrepreneur in Miami who fights for children’s social justice in Haiti. His purpose is to take action to help Restavek children break free from the cycle of poverty and domestic servitude by providing them with an emotionally nurturing home 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 hope and faith in myself thanks to a few people who shared their humanity. People who truly helped to carry the weight and shed light on my situation. People who made the difference by putting their best interests aside, who invested in my well-being without demanding anything in return. These people 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 the age of sixteen, he was homeless and struggling to survive. However, he was able to rise above these circumstances by reaching out for help.
When Alex first visited Haiti in 2009, he was devastated by the situation there. Although he had traveled extensively, he had never witnessed such profound poverty and its impact on children. He felt compelled to act, and in 2010, he founded Haiti Now after witnessing the destruction brought on by the 2010 earthquake.
Since then, Haiti Now has 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 through a prison glass. Experiencing police brutality at gunpoint and watching my mother beaten by police to make me snitch was the norm. I buried most of the people I knew by the age of 18, including my parents. The only exception was my grandparents, who played an ambiguous role of support and distance. I did not have anyone; my extended family kept a "safe" distance. I was homeless at 16 while my mother was dying of AIDS. I was fighting her terminal disease, including all the social stigma of AIDS in the late 80s, losing my mother slowly until it turned her into a 30 kg skeleton. I was an immigrant at 19. I have survived poverty, disease, marginalization, violence, crime, prison, AIDS, addiction, and police brutality. That I recovered from all of these, for me it is a matter of equity and justice."
Alex's First Visit To Haiti
In March 2009, Alex Lizzappi, our founder and CEO, and Uchenna Aningo MD were vacationing in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic when they decided to travel 12 hours by bus to visit Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Port-au-Prince was still recovering from a major hurricane, and the state of the population was very precarious. Poor national infrastructure, combined with …
Medical Mission To Haiti
In January 2010, immediately after the earthquake hit Haiti, Uchenna Aningo MD, a practicing physician assistant in Florida, united a team of healthcare providers from around the United States who were ready and willing to go to Port-au-Prince. In a few days, Uchenna and Alex coordinated a team of surgeons, physicians from many specialties, pharmacists, …