MIT Sloan staff member Rebecca Roseme Obounou created a nonprofit emphasizing business training in Haiti
Source: MIT Sloan Newsroom | October 5, 2015
The neighbors were sometimes lined up outside her home in rural Haiti by dawn, remembered Rebecca Roseme Obounou.
Seeking medical assistance, they came to Obounou’s mother, Rose Roseme, a nurse who worked at a local hospital and provided health care at all hours.
Eventually, Roseme opened a clinic in their home, where she was able to care for patients who were turned away after the hospital’s daily morning triage. She also created jobs and internship opportunities for local community members.
“It definitely had a lasting effect on me … watching how my mother impacted the community, not only by providing affordable health care, but also by creating some wealth opportunities for others,” said Obounou, a program coordinator at MIT Sloan Executive Education.
Obounou and her three younger siblings were born in the United States, but the family moved back to Haiti when Obounou was a teenager. Obounou then returned to the United States to earn a management degree from Bentley University in Massachusetts. She joined MIT Sloan in 2007, but still felt drawn to her homeland.
In 2008, Obounou created a nonprofit to help Haitian entrepreneurs start businesses. She and her mother founded the Christian Haitian Entrepreneurial Society, also known as CHES, as a way to see Haitians live “with dignity and free of poverty.”