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We note with deep sorrow that Emmanuel Rejouis – a BRIDGE facilitator greatly respected and loved by many in the electoral community – perished in the Haiti Earthquake on 12th January 2010, along with two of his three daughters (Kofie-Jade, 5 and Zenzie, 3).  Emmanuel’s wife, Emily Sanson-Rejouis survived.  So did their third daughter – two-year-old Alyahna – because Emmanuel was able to shield her.  

Emmanuel (Haitian/French) and Emily (New Zealand) had both worked for the UN in Haiti. Emily was at work in the UN building in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake struck, whilst Emmanuel and their 3 children were in their hotel.

Emmanuel took part in the Introduction module in Auckland in 2006, and then the TtF in Washington in 2007. He also wrote several case studies for Elections BRIDGE Version 2:

  1. Setting up an electoral management body (for the Electoral Management Bodies module)
  2. Guidelines for long-term observers (for Electoral Observation module)
  3. Approaches to the training of political parties (for Electoral Contestants module)
  4. Setting up of a registration system (for Voter Registration module), and
  5. Coordinating donor assistance (for the Electoral Assistance module)

These excellent case studies – based on personal experience and expertise – contribute greatly to the curriculum – particularly because they were written from the first-hand perspective of someone working in very challenging environments (such as Haiti) – with all the political, social, economic and bureaucratic realities attached to such roles.

We are glad Emmanuel’s legacy lives on in BRIDGE, but we are enormously saddened by his loss.

A family friend (Jules) has established a Facebook page as a tribute to Emmanuel and his family. Emily’s sister Rachel is encouraging friends and colleagues to share their positive memories of Emmanuel on this page. It is a heart-warming response to this tragedy, and we encourage all BRIDGE and electoral colleagues of Emmanuel’s to contribute.

An nice obituary for Emmanuel was published in the Nelson Times: http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/features/3472018/OBITUARY-Emmanuel-Rejouis-true-citizen-of-the-world

A foundation has been established (Kenbe La Foundation: www.kenbelafoundation.org) that is raising money for the child victims of the Christchurch earthquake, as well as for the rebuilding of a school in Haiti. From the website (purplecakeday.org):

“Purple Cake Day is an idea conceived by Nelsonian, Emily Sanson-Rejouis to celebrate the spirit of her daughters, Kofie-Jade (5) and Zenzie (3), who were lost with their father, Emily’s husband Emmanuel, in the Haiti earthquake in January 2010. It is inspired by Kofie’s compassion for children less fortunate and by Zenzie who wanted not one, but two purple cakes for her 4th birthday. Immediately following the earthquake, Emily established the Kenbe La Foundation (‘Kenbe La’ means “Never Give Up” in Haitian Creole), a registered charitable trust, to provide educational opportunities for children in need. The Foundation has since established Purple Cake Day as a specific day to celebrate and connect children from around the world. Thanks for celebrating and fundraising with us.

The money you raised will go directly to rebuilding a school in Haiti through the Kenbe La Foundation, a registered charitable trust, to provide educational opportunities for children in need. NZ Registered Charitable Trust status registration number: CC44756”

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