Malya and I had both been working with grassroots groups in Haiti since 1986. In 1992, I was raped. My attack was around the time when organizations in Haiti were starting to come together to address the problem of violence in our country. That’s how I met Malya. Together, we decided to unite to combat violence against women.
I can now say that meeting Malya has given me a lot of strength. We are both survivors of violence, and in very similar circumstances. My husband died, I survived violence, my children survived violence—and the same thing happened to Malya. When we met, we realized that we were two strong women who could bring about change in our country’s perception of rape. I am proud to have Malya as my colleague—and as my sister—as we work together to bring an end to violence against women.
In my opinion, Malya’s nomination as a top 10 CNN Hero is a huge victory for KOFAVIV and for rape survivors in Haiti. There are so many worthy organizations in Haiti and around the world. This nomination is a testament to the strength of KOFAVIV’s work—of Malya’s work.
Malya is a survivor, and she’s turned her painful experiences into strength to combat violence against women. Women who come to our center do not need to tell Malya what has happened, because she knows. She has been a witness to it all. She has seen it all. She knows how to advocate for women, providing counseling, medical care and shelter.
I am so happy about Malya’s nomination. We are working hard to ask people to vote for her, because our work is so vital and important for women in Haiti. For us here at KOFAVIV, it is a victory for Malya to be a CNN Hero. We could not be prouder!
Co-founder of KOFAVIV
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