Briel Leveillé passed away early this morning at St. Boniface Hospital, which he helped bring into existence. Briel was a long-time leader in the Fond des Blancs community, founder of a local community development organization, and a massive force for positive change for many decades. He was the first community member that the founders of SBHF met when they arrived in Fond des Blancs in the early 1980s, and worked diligently throughout his life for more opportunities for the people of his community.
Briel worked with SBHF for many years as our external relations coordinator - a key link between the greater community and the hospital. He founded RATRAP, a local community development organization, and helped run programs that lifted up local farmers, gave children the opportunity to go to school, and supported the most vulnerable people in town. He was the elected leader of the community for many years, and served as an unofficial leader for nearly his entire adult life. Having only a primary school education, which he began at the age of 13 and completed at age 21, Briel never saw a challenge he didn't want to take on. He sent all 12 of his children through primary and secondary school - schools that existed and thrived in part because of his tireless work to make life better for the children of Fond des Blancs.
Last fall, on a warm day sitting in the shade just outside his house, he said, "My dream was to bring change to the world, to Haiti, and to Fond des Blancs. Social, economic, health, all kinds of change...When I was young, all young people wanted to leave, go somewhere else. There were no opportunities here. Now people stay, find jobs, and can make a life here. I hope that all of the things that need to be done can be achieved. My dream was to bring sustainable change...we are seeing these changes, but there is a lot still to be done."
In Briel's memory, and in the sprit in which he lived his life, may we continue the work of making the world a better place for all.