When Yuzzy Gaina Dubuisson moved to the U.S. from her birth country of Haiti at age 7, she left behind friends and family. The AU student did, however, bring a strong sense of Haitian pride and a belief in empowering youth and women to her new home.
Through her work with a Haitian-focused nonprofit as well as AU’s Women’s Resource Center, Dubuisson said she hopes to bring a new image of Haiti to the world and inspire women both in the U.S and abroad.
Dubuisson has been involved in the following organizations while at AU:
• Minority Women’s Initiative (co-founder)
• Haiti in Transition (co-founder)
• Women’s Resource Center (student assistant)
Dubuisson, a junior in the School of International Service, is the co-founder of the newly-formed nonprofit Haiti in Transition. The organization is a group of eight young women, including two other AU students, working to establish a new image of Haiti and its culture, as well as to empower its youth.
“When most people think of Haiti, they think of the poor,” Dubuisson said. “Not the beautiful people, the rich, vibrant arts.”
Dubuisson said she was brought up with a strong pride in her heritage and it is important for her to be a voice for those who don’t have the same opportunities as she has had. She is a first-generation college student in her family.
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti affected the world’s view of the country and was a personally emotional experience for Dubuisson. Her home was destroyed, and her 109-year-old great-grandmother had to be pulled from the rubble by her cousins. Her great-grandmother survived and was later featured on CNN.
After the tragedy of the 2010 earthquake, Dubuisson said she hopes her group’s efforts can help showcase the light and dignity of the Haitian people.
“Haitian people have the capability and the drive to bring themselves out of the rubble,” she said. “It speaks to the character of Haiti.”
She will be traveling there with the group Haiti in Transition in December to evaluate and plan some of the group’s future projects. In their first project, they will work with local artists as well as the country’s youth to beautify cities through murals and other works of art. The project will start sometime next year, according to Dubuisson.
Dubuisson’s interest in empowering others is not just exclusive to her Haitian culture. Her involvement in women’s issues started her freshman year when she and a friend from George Washington University founded a program called the Minority Women’s Initiative. Each month she and her friend would travel to Pennsylvania to hold seminars for girls at their former high school.
The meetings usually draw between 15-30 girls and focus on different relevant issues, such as dealing with adversity and the importance of education.
This year, she works as a student assistant in the Women’s Resource Center.
Dubuisson said working at the Women’s Resource Center seemed like a perfect fit for her passion and interests.
“A women’s issue is my issue,” she said. “It was an opportunity to be part of a welcoming place for all women on campus.”
• Dubuisson traveled to Haiti last summer with Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S. and his wife as part of a volunteer group through the Children and Families Global Development Fund, Inc., a non-governmental organization owned by the ambassador’s wife. She had originally met the ambassador at a gala honoring the Haitian artist Hector Hyppolite at the Organization of American States.
• On the trip to Haiti she received mercury poisoning from eating fish and felt so sick that she fell in her hotel room and split her chin open. She was taken to the hospital on the back of a motorcycle, but the hospital did not have the stitches she needed. The cut had to close by itself.
• She backpacked for two weeks in Israel at the end of 2008 with the inter-faith group Common Ground.
• She loves languages and can speak French, English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.
• Dubuisson enjoys cooking, especially Haitian dishes such as rice and beans and Caribbean style chicken, as well as Italian foods such as shrimp linguine.