Born in Cap Haitien, Haiti, Fred Joseph Jr. moved to Florida with his father at the age of two, and returned to Haiti at four years old residing there until the age of seven years old, where he attended the school Kay Frère. With his families’ belief in the American dream, they moved to New Jersey and managed to overcome trials and tribulations; where they not only value the dream but live it as well. Fred says: “I believe that we have the power to create our own reality and helping others empowers each of us to create a reality that fulfills the heart’s desire. My way of helping people encourages others to challenge themselves”.
Fred always knew he was a humanitarian at heart. Issues such as absolute poverty, child mortality and environmental sustainability were always thought provoking to him. Being Haitian, he knew that these harsh realities needed more than just financial aid; that the suffering of people worldwide needed all sorts of resolutions such as: improvement in the education system and safety in the environment. Fred’s experience of working with people of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds, guiding and supporting them to overcome various problems, motivated him to help those in need. Through his work, he managed to travel and participate in non-profit seminars in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, Chicago, Florida, California, Boston, and Haiti.
In 2007, Fred graduated from Saint Peter’s College, Jersey City, New Jersey. Although he studied Business, his desire for charity work increased over the years. The following year, after hosting a soccer tournament in Saint Raphael, Haiti a fight broke out with the youth causing children and parents to flee, it was then that Fred realized that the local kids were in dire need of a better environment; one that could not only provide for their families, but generations to come. This was the birth of the Anasoule Wishes Foundation (AWF) named after his grandmother Anasoule. AWF was founded to teach the children of St. Raphael, to utilize their resources in order to better their lives and community. In 2010 Fred, along with a college friend, Martine E. Pierre, decided to expand on the AWF vision and create the Help Us Save Us (HUSU) organization. HUSU is a non-profit organization established to serve all areas of humanity by providing assistance in education, health, and agriculture. The organization is currently working to revitalize the educational institutions in Saint Raphael, Haiti. The town has gained many new residents displaced from the capital city, Port-Au-Prince, due to the tragic earthquake.
Growing up in America and adapting to American culture, Fred’s peers mocked his Haitian culture, which at times pained him because the image they portrayed of Haiti, was a false image of his home. In 2005, during his sophomore year of college he lost his father in a car accident. “The loss of my father forced me to not only step up and fill his shoes but to start living his dream because tomorrow is not promised. Just as my parents took the challenge of coming to America in search of better opportunities, I want to return to Haiti to offer my fellow citizens more opportunities.”
Haiti is a country that faces many challenges: political corruption, misdistribution of wealth and socio-economic obstacles. Regardless of that, Fred stands on the belief that “to reduce extreme poverty, it is important to set goals, lay out strategies, mobilize resources, assign accountability and measure progress. The end of poverty also begins with poor communities, local leaders and grassroots organizations. People in communities that work together can overcome conflict, share the costs of bringing clean water to everyone, and rebuild schools torn down by war and natural disaster, and press governmental authorities to be accountable. We have the knowledge, technology, and wealth to get the job done. It starts from the realization that we are citizens not only of our own country but also of the world. We have an obligation to be knowledgeable about the world. It begins with each of us. It begins now.” His mission: “Together we can build a better world”
Q&A With Fred Joseph Jr.
BS: What memories do you remember of Haiti from? Did a remarkable experience take place in which has aided in the love you have for the country?
Fred Joseph Jr.: The memories that play in my head when I used to live in Haiti are great memories. I remember my parents taking me to go get ice cream every weekend. The streets were so clean, food was affordable, truck drivers were able to travel at anytime in the night. There were no such thing as kidnapping, we had electricity 24-7 and the educational system was very good. Back then, French was a requirement in school. Back then my father played soccer for the international team. Soccer is a big thing in Haiti.
I was born in Haiti. So the love for my country was something I was born with. Also I think traveling to Haiti every summer made me fall in love more with Haiti. My parents would send me and sisters to to Haiti every summer.
BS: Was it a hard process to create a non profit? What essential tools should an individual process in order to to begin a non profit? What initial first steps should they take?
Fred Joseph Jr.: Founding Help Us Save Us was not difficult. After witnessing the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, my passion to make a difference became a must. I was tired of other organizations telling me NO for what I wanted to do for my country. Therefore I took the initiative to create my own non-profit.
Starting a non-profit is not difficult if you have a passion on helping others. You don’t need any tools to start a non-profit. Just remember you are doing this to change someone’s life. You need to work hard, be honest, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. First initial step into starting a non-profit is knowing what you want to do and understanding your mission.
BS: Please give us a more detailed assessment about the current project(s) of your non-profit.
Fred Joseph Jr.: We’re currently building a Children’s Center in Saint Raphael, Haiti that will provide impoverished children and orphans in Haiti with the opportunity to take part in: recreation, singing, dancing, chapel, sports, arts and crafts and more with the overall goal of fostering children who are self-reliant and able to contribute to their communities in countless ways. This center will give us the chance to feed 500 children with three meals a day for one week each month, this is more than most Haitian children receive in a year. Our dream is to provide clean water, clinics, trade schools and cabins with over 500 beds, but we need the help of others to make this dream come true!
BS: What other countries will or has HUSU aided or will aid?
Fred Joseph Jr.: Help Us Save Us plans to do work and expand in countries such as the Dominican Republic, Trinidad, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Sierra Leone, Angola, and more. Our efforts thus far has been focused in Haiti only.
BS: Which other non-profits have HUSU collaborated with?
Fred Joseph Jr.: HUSU has teamed up with Hosean International Ministries in Haiti. They have been our mentor since day one. We also do side work with MMRCHaiti.
BS: Are there any other endeavors in which you will or have participated in? What are they?
Fred Joseph Jr.: Beside the Children Center, I am working with HaitiWater this summer in Haiti to install a water system that will provide clean drinking water to the people of Saint Raphael.
BS: Why do you believe it is important for the black community to continually participate in giving back to the community and or providing mentorship?
Fred Joseph Jr.: Its important not only for the black community to give, but for everyone to give. Our mission is “Together WE can build a better world.” Like Ghandi once said “you must be the change you wish to see in the world”. Therefore, at the end of the day when you give, eventually you receive. I believe God’s gift to us is putting us on this earth. Our gift to Him is what we do for others while we are on this earth.