Diaspora

New non-profit for Haitian immigrants opens in Methuen – Eagle-Tribune

Partly cloudy this evening with more clouds for overnight. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 76F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph..
Partly cloudy this evening with more clouds for overnight. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 76F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph.
Updated: August 8, 2022 @ 5:42 pm
Hugson Jean-Francios, right, and Juranaud Jeune celebrated the grand opening of their non-profit organization Haitians Overseas on July 31.

Hugson Jean-Francios, right, and Juranaud Jeune celebrated the grand opening of their non-profit organization Haitians Overseas on July 31.
METHUEN — Haitian immigrants Hugson Jean-Francios and Juranaud Jeune recently celebrated the grand opening of their non-profit organization, Haitians Overseas, at 15 Lowell Blvd.
Jean-Francios, president of the organization, said the overall purpose of Haitians Overseas is to provide complimentary immigration services, housing and job training.
“When they get here, they don’t have houses,” he said during the grand opening event on July 31.
Jean-Francios also called attention to September 2021, when approximately 5,400 Haitian immigrants were turned back at the United States border with Mexico.
Had Haitians Overseas been in operation at that time, Jean-Francios said the organization would have reached out to assist those who were being deported.
“We could’ve helped,” he said.
Jeune, vice president of Haitians Overseas, said the organization is considered a pilot program in Massachusetts.
“We are just testing the water,” he said. “In three to five years, we want to have both feet in the water.”
Going forward, Jean-Francios said he plans to expand the organization to have locations in Florida and New Jersey.
“Our biggest goal is to see ourselves enlarging,” he said.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, 705,000 Haitians reside in the U.S., the highest figure in the world.
Jean-Francios and Jeune also spoke about the personal challenges they encountered when they arrived in the country.
Jean-Francios moved from Haiti to Florida in 2012 and then to Massachusetts in 2018. Despite being a third year law student in Haiti, Jean-Francios said none of his academic credits, including those from college, could be transferred. Therefore, he needed to go through college all over again.
However, Jean-Francios has since graduated from the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a Bachelor’s Degree in finance. He is now pursuing a Master’s Degree in finance and is planning to begin law school in the fall of 2023.
“I’m here for a better future,” he said.
Prior to moving to Massachusetts in 2017, Jeune said he was employed as a civil engineer. Yet, his license was not valid outside of Haiti. He is now taking online courses through the University of North Dakota and expects to become certified in the U.S. in 2024.
Jeune said it will be worth the wait.
“When you want something,” he said. “It’s not an obstacle.”
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First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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