Although his full name is Dayana Robillard, this compassionate and visionary Haitian, who speaks beautiful Creole, prefers to go by the shorter version of Robi. He was born in St. Raphael to a large family of many brothers and sisters, and grew up in Cite Soleil. Robi is also the proud father of a blossoming young girl and is married to Sabina, an American who like him is passionate about seeding change in Haiti.
It should come as no surprise that Robi, who has a degree in Community Change and Peace Building from the Future Generations Graduate School, would have launched two projects, one in each place that holds a special significance for him. Interestingly enough the two projects he has founded—The Cite Soleil Peach Project and Fondasyon Ginen—work towards seeding and nurturing two very important seeds; young people in Cite Soleit and trees in St. Raphael.
The common tool that he uses to achieve the different goals of these two projects is thru the value of Konbit. At Cite Soleil he was motivated to create a way to recognize all the wonderful efforts young people were having in the city towards “making life better for their neighborhoods.” Together with a team of peers, he has accomplished this through the creation of an annual peace prize, through which they can celebrate good altruistic local heroes.
The slogan for his second project, a forest park that Robi founded with his wife Sabina, “Sonje rasin nou. Konstwi lavni nou/Remember our roots, build our future” alludes to the importance of Haitians reclaiming their connections to their natural environment for a better future, but for Robi it is also about returning to his birthplace and making a difference.
Here they aspire to plant an educational forest, where the community can have the opportunity to help seed a forest, take care of it, but more importantly to reconnect with it. This is best exemplified in their Naming Project where almost every tree that has been planted is tagged with a person of interest and their story, representing peace warriors both in Haiti and abroad.
Robi along with the people he collaborates with on both projects, has just started scratching the surface of what is possible for community change. He is committed to a world where people are the agents of change who can lift themselves up without having to wait for government help. Although some might call him ‘crazy’ for these dreams, he knows that he is in good company as a member of The Pollination Project’s Youth Environmental team. Crazy is only crazy because of its novelty, because it dares to dream of a different world where violence is not the norm, poverty is not systemic, and our mother earth is not destroyed. In this sense we all could use a little more ‘crazy’ in our lives.
“Sonje rasin nou. Konstwi lavni nou/Remember our roots, build our future”