Diagnosed with cancer and faced with his mortality, businessman Patrice Millet realized what really mattered and decided to find a way to give back to his country. Haiti has long been considered the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. In Haiti, 80% of the population lives below the poverty line and 54% live in abject poverty. In this environment, Patrice started FONDAPS as a program to empower youth in 2007. Armed with only a few soccer balls, Patrice took to the fields of Solino, one of Port-au-Prince’s most dangerous slums. His wife was worried his weakened physical state would leave him vulnerable to gangs and pleaded with him to stay home. Patrice told her, “I’d rather die doing something good than laying in a hospital.”
Patrice began to employ coaches to serve as good role models and negotiated with companies and charities to donate food to be given at the end of each training session. Within four months, FONDAPS evolved into a structured after-school program, becoming a full-scale soccer school with mentoring and nutrition programs for 600 children. Today, FONDAPS has directly benefited over 750 youth. The program provides a way for the youth to stay out of danger and Patrice uses the sport to teach discipline, teamwork and sportsmanship, which ultimately encourages the youth to become good citizens and to take pride in themselves, their community, and their country.