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Haitian Anti-Rape Activist Malya Villard-Appolon Honored as CNN Hero

CONTACT: Kaitlyn Soligan, MADRE (212) 627-0444,

Haitian Anti-Rape Activist Malya Villard-Appolon Honored as CNN Hero

September 24, 2012–New York, NY– MADRE partner Malya Villard-Appolon has been named a 2012 CNN Hero. Villard-Appolon is a co-founder and leader of KOFAVIV, an organization founded by and for rape survivors in Haiti. Their work has been especially vital since the devastating earthquake in 2010, when sexual assaults became rampant throughout the overcrowded and dangerous tent cities in Port-au-Prince.

"We are so proud to partner with Malya and support KOFAVIV's work, " said Yifat Susskind, Executive Director of MADRE. "Malya and the women of KOFAVIV have persevered in the face of unimaginable obstacles to help Haitian women who have endured rape to rebuild their lives and their country. Their incredible dedication deserves every honor."

Each 2012 CNN Hero will receive a $50, 000 grant to further their work, and one will be named "CNN Hero of the Year" during a live broadcast on Sunday, Dec. 2.


Available for interview:

Yifat Susskind, MADRE Executive Director, works with women's human rights activists from Latin America, Africa, and theMiddle East, creating programs to address violence against women, economic development, climate change, armed conflict and more.

Malya Villard-Appolon is a co-founder and leader of KOFAVIV (Komisyon Fanm Viktim pou Viktim, The Commission of Women Victims for Victims) in Haiti. Based on her experience as a rape survivor, Malya, along with Eramithe Delva, established KOFAVIV in 2004 to address the medical and psychological needs of rape survivors. After the January 2010 earthquake, Malya's years of community engagement allowed her to act quickly, distributing humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable displaced people. When rapes began to escalate in the camps, she organized to provide urgent medical services, demand an end to impunity and rebuild communities. Malya is a 2012 CNN Hero.

Malya Villard-Appolon will be available for media on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am – 3pm. To schedule, please contact MADRE. MADRE is also able to provide translation with advance notice.


MADRE works in partnership with grassroots women's groups to secure rights, resources and results for women worldwide. To learn more, please visit us at