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COMMUNITY HERO:
JOSUE AND CHRISMEDONNE LAJEUNESSE
by David Kelly

Josue and Chrismedonne Lajeunesse
Photo from http://www.philosopherkingsmovie.com/about/haiti-water-project/

A janitor at Princeton University by day, and a cab driver at night, Josue Lajeunesse works close to 20 hours per day to provide for his family in the U.S. and for his extended family in Haiti. Josue grew up in La Source, Haiti, a rural village about 50 miles from the capital of Port-au-Prince. Without electricity or plumbing, the residents of La Source have to make a physically taxing hike to the top of a nearby mountain to fetch clean water. Often, the children are sent to get the water and many don't have shoes. Some people opt not to take the hike and instead go to a nearby river to get water that is unsafe to drink. Since childhood, Josue knew that this wasn't right and there must be a better way.

In 1989 Josue moved to the U.S. in search of a better life for his family. However, the water problem in La Source never left his thoughts. Since he was no longer living in Haiti, he collaborated with his brother, Chrismedonne, as to what could be done about the water in La Source. His brother had an idea but no money. Josue continually worked hard and managed to save a few thousand dollars. With the money, Chrismedonne was able to buy the necessary materials to start the water project himself. However, his project was not large enough to deliver water for all people in La Source. With the help of a non-profit, Generosity Water, Princeton University students, and the community of La Source, Josue was able to rally support and resources in order to build upon the initial water project and turn it into a water system large enough for all of La Source.

Josue Lajeunesse is the subject of "La Source," a documentary about two brothers, worlds apart, working together to provide access to clean water for their village of La Source, Haiti.




Written by David Kelly
Last changed on: 1/5/2011 3:06:48 PM

"La Source" View a trailer of "La Source" in the MY HERO Screening Room.

Generosity Water is dedicated to ending the clean water crisis in developing countries, one community at a time.

"The Philosopher Kings" View a trailer of this first place award-winning film in the 2009 MY HERO International Short Film Festival.

Patrick Shen is founder of Transcendental Media (TM), and the director of "La Source". In 2009 Shen released "The Philosopher Kings" which premiered to sold-out audiences at the AFI-Discovery Channel SILVERDOCS Documentary Festival. The award-winning film interweaves the personal stories of eight janitors who work for some of Americas top universities. Previously, Shen co-directed and edited “Change Your Life!,” a mockumentary about the world of pyramid schemes, starring Tony Plana (“Ugly Betty”, “Three Amigos”). In 2005 Shen became nationally recognized for his 7-time best documentary winner “Flight From Death: The Quest For Immortality.” Prior to founding TM, Shen was second unit director of the Emmy-nominated film “We Served With Pride.”
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