In 2009, the international leadership of the Vincentian Family, which encompasses all those who find inspiration from the life and the legacy of St. Vincent de Paul, join Haitian microfinance institution Fonkoze to initiate a pilot project that would enable people worldwide to loan or donate to businesses in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest on earth.
The Web site — Zafen.org — was launched in 2010 to commemorate the lives and works of St. Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) and St. Louise de Marillac (1591-1660), two individuals who dedicated their lives to serving people living in poverty . On the 350th anniversary of their deaths, Zaf?n was established with the objective of having a positive impact on Haiti’s economic, social and physical environment by providing micro, small and medium sized enterprises with enhanced access to capital. Zaf?n strives to achieve this aim through:
– Showcasing business projects that have been subject to a due diligence pre-screen for community impact;
– Providing online access through a secure, easy and reliable mechanism for reviewing and selecting profiles for loans or donations;
– Offering Haitian entrepreneurs micro mentoring opportunities through which to nurture their ideas toward sustainability and, ultimately, self-sufficiency.