Turtle Tree is a non-profit foundation (in Dutch: ANBI stichting), registered in the Netherlands since 2007. In its first years of operation, 2007 to 2010, Turtle Tree supported several small-scale artisan projects in rural communities in Haiti in an attempt to achieve sustainable economic growth for these groups. Turtle Tree offered training programmes and supported its Haitian partners in achieving independence. Its philosophy and ideal is that worker-owned, self-managed cooperatives can become the backbone of social and economic development in these rural communities.
Fanm Veret (The women of Verrettes), a womens cooperative in the Artibonite valley, Haiti.
In January 12, 2010, Port-au-Prince, a large part of the capital of Haiti and its surroundings were destroyed by an earth quake. Journalist and documentary filmmaker Ton Vriens, founder of Turtle Tree, arrived that day to visit Fanm Veret. In the aftermath of the catastrophy Turtle Tree developed a plan for a film school for young Haitians interested in multimedia and journalism.
In October 2010, the film school, later named Haiti Reporters, (www.haitireporters.info), started its first intensive four month course under the directorship of Turtle Tree, co-financed by the Dutch NGOs ICCO & Kerk in Actie, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and sponsored by several companies, including Tekserve in New York, Canon Europe and the American Vitec Group. In June 2013 a third contract between ICCO & Kerk in Actie and Turtle Tree co-financing Haiti Reporters came to an end. In total five courses were provided and sixty five students graduated of which presently twenty six have found employment in the Haitian media industry.
Graduates of Haiti Reporters produced a number of independent documentaries about the reconstruction of Haiti, and developed Metro Mag, a weekly current affairs magazine for Haiti’s television station Télé-Métropole. The English subtitled documentary Conversations with the Death (Conversations avec les Morts) travelled to several film festivals, including the Montreal International Black Film Festival 2013 and The 8th Annual CaribbeanTales Toronto Film Showcase.
Haiti Reporters’ Ruvens Boyer (reporter), Natacha Bazelais (camera) and Edouard Edouard (sound) at work in refugee camp Grace Village.