Marie Gabrielle Aurel

Co-founder - Sociéte Agricole de Production et d’Elevage du Nord, (SAPEN, SA)

I was born on a warm, sunny day in October 4, 1972 in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. I currently live in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, and I attended College Adventiste du Cap-Haitien from Pre-School thru 12th Grade. I am the first of two children. My father, Lucien Antoine Aurel, desperate due to lack of opportunities for his family in Haiti, embarked on one of the first boats, miraculously making it to Miami when I was only two, and my little brother eight months old. Three years later, my mother, Elyse Prophète, a young 26-year-old woman, beautiful and full of life, couldn’t bear being alone and decided to take the journey and meet her husband in the “land of the free”. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the same luck, and died at the sea. “I sometimes think that she knew she was going to seal her fate, leaving her two small babies behind, not knowing when she will see them again. My mother was prepared to risk everything. She took us to a good Christian boarding house the day before she left.”

Until I was 12, thanks to the money my father sent from the US, My brother and I managed to live well in the boarding house. This was until my father got sick and couldn’t help anymore. At that moment, we experienced poverty like the rest of the Haitian children. We had to drop out of school, having only one meal a day by 4:00 pm, when Sister Marion gave us some sweet potatoes. When I was 19, I traveled to the US to reunite with my father. I obtained my Green Card and started a new life. I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems at DeVry University in Decatur, GA; graduated on June 2001, I got a good job with the Georgia Department of Human Resources (GA DHR), improved my conditions, but Haiti was always on my mind. I got married to a Haitian in February 2000 in Georgia and had two children. One day at 4:30 am, immigration officers arrived to my house and took my husband to jail because of his immigration condition, where he spent eight months at Atlanta City Jail and was deported to Haiti on june 5th, 2005. Questioning my stay in the US, I decided to go back to Haiti. Because I believe that: “The same God who blesses me in the US, is also in Haiti.” So I filled myself with determination, and founded the NGO Sonje Ayity in 2005 and decided to go back to my country in 2006 to help build the “Haitian dream” of thousands of people. My biggest inspiration is to motivate locals to stay on the island to help build a better country. I am also a co-founder of a for-Profit (Sociéte Agricole de Production et d’Elevage du Nord, (SAPEN, SA)) in 2010. With my chicken processing company I provide food and hope to thousands of people.

SAPEN, SA, is the result of a dream, so the country could stop importing chicken from abroad, to see my country free of poverty and a country where food is not a luxury; a country that is providing food for everyone; a place where people do not have to risk their lives on boats looking for a better future. “I want to encourage Haitians to take risks, not just complain, and not just ask themselves what they are going to do to feed their children or when the next boat leaves. They can contribute to the development of the country, staying in Haiti with pride, taking responsibility of their lives. If we unite, we will build a better Haiti. It can take 20 years, but we have to start. Being the first Afro-descendant country to become independent, we must rise from the ashes.”

I am a servant, a willing outlet of God to inspire others to give their best. I am self motivated, dynamic, perfectionist, and stubborn.