Brilliant and beautiful, 26-year-old Hermanie Pierre is committed to educating tomorrow’s leaders. A civil engineer by profession and one of the few female and African Americans currently working on multimillion dollar transportation projects, the reigning Miss Haiti International is a passionate children’s advocate. A budding philanthropist, Pierre recently launched A Better Tomorrow for Today’s Children: Building a New Generation.
Here, the Port-au-Prince, Haiti native who created a scholarship fund to help kids and students pay for school in Haiti, talks about role models, the definition of beauty and her vision for her native country. –yvette caslin
Who are your role models?
Oprah Winfrey for her altruism, Michelle Obama for her commitment to military families and Hillary Clinton for her political savvy
How do you define beauty?
I believe beauty is how a person collectively helps, gives back, loves, and cares for others. The most common and accepted definition of beauty is equated with exterior physical appearance. That’s just one element of the concept. It is also about philanthropic and altruistic undertakings. We are doomed to evolve as communities in mutual bonds. Political, economic, social, religious and cultural matters must be addressed with a holistic approach in order to tackle detrimental ramifications from all directions because injustice will eventually spill over and bring chickens back home to roost. I can’t single-handedly slow down nor eliminate the process, but I will do my part in everything I do.
Tell us about your advocacy work for children?
With my platform “A Better Tomorrow for Today’s Children: Building A New Generation”, one of my goals is to be a voice for the children. That is why I partner with the Little Piece of Heaven Foundation and Haitian Organization Health Services, to contribute to an equitable distribution of education, medical and nutritional support, not only to kids in Haiti but also to those in other parts of the globe. I also have my own scholarship “Leadership Through Education” to help disfranchised students in Haiti to afford college tuition, after I was touched by so many heartfelt letters asking for assistance.
What lessons are you imparting to young girls whom you come into contact with your advocacy work?
“Stay in School” is the primary message I share with kids. If you have the opportunity to go to school, take advantage of it because without an education it is so hard to have a great future.
How do you stay motivated and inspired?
It’s the people who I come in contact with every day and the heartfelt letters that I received on my email about the kids that want me to help them, motivate me to do better. Oprah and most recently Michelle Obama inspired me. I want to follow both of these women’s trademarks. I realize I need to work as hard as I can to follow in their footsteps so that I can help as many people that I can.
What does it mean for you to represent your native country?
It is honor to represent my Country. But I understand it took like a tremendous amount of work and energy to be where I am. For me to have the privilege to promote my lovely country, I want everyone to see Haiti in a positive image. I strongly believe that Haiti will be a better place with better access to education. It is my goal to utilize my resources, contacts and experience in Haiti’s best interests. I hope to be able to play a part and help make Haiti a better place to visit and live –one where people are valued and accepted for who they are.
What are the three most important facts that you want Americans and people in the global community to know and remember about Haiti as they rebuild?
1. Haiti was the first independent nation in Latin America and the first black country that took their independence.
2. Haiti’s primary sport is soccer.
3. La Citadel is the largest mountaintop fortress in the Western Hemisphere.
(Photos Courtesy of Marria Hamlin/Reality Focused Photography)