Raise Awareness to Madan Sara


Written by: Julia Cuttone

“Growing up my mom was a Madan Sara and that stayed with me for many years. I was inspired by how so many women raised their kids and ran their businesses while still keeping Haiti’s economy running” said Etant Dupain. A Madan Sara is a woman from Haiti who works tirelessly to buy, distribute, and sell food in markets throughout the country. Dupain explained in Haitian society it is not very common for women to be seen as people who hold positions of power, but in everyday life, it is a Madan Sara sitting on sidewalks and marketplaces fighting to make a living.

The Madan Sara live each day with the local economy’s weight upon their shoulders. They can be found in the marketplace or even on top of cars leading the charge. “There is no aspect of the Haitian economy where women are not at the base. If the Madan Sara does not go to work, the city does not eat. If the Madan Sara does not go up into the mountains and back down into the neighborhood, the market will not operate. Without those women, there is no market, without the market there is no economy, and without economy, there is no country” said Dupain.

“The Madan Sara is at the forefront of the battle for a more robust and inclusive economy in Haiti,” he said. These women are facing obstacles everyday while working in districts that lack investment, infrastructure, and state assistance, but he said: “they continue to be one of the most crucial parts of the Haitian economy and of who we are as a country.”

Dupain realized that he needed to make the voices of the Madan Sara heard throughout the world and tell the stories of the persistent women, who work at ends meet every day to make the Haitian economy run. “I decided that I needed to make a film...working on the film in 2016 it was a small project because I used my money to make the film. It took me a lot of time to shoot. There were many ups and downs but I am proud that we are almost there” he said. 

Dupain plans on having the film, The Madan Sara, finalized this upcoming December. Despite the hardships and social stigma that Madan Sara face, they can put their children through school, provide for their family with shelter, and help ensure a better life for generations to come. Dupain is one of the many generations of Madan Sara children who went on to achieve success in his life.  

Dupain studied at a production school in Venezuela and is now the founder and director of Kombit Productions. As a Haiti-based freelance journalist and producer, he started his career as a reporter for Telesur in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Since then he has worked as a producer for international news media outlets such as British Broadcasting Corporation, Vice, Discovery channel, Raw TV, CANAL+, Venezolana Televisión Vive TV, and the award-winning film “Where Did the Money Go”? After watching his mother growing up, and seeing the obstacles she faced, he decided to work on his first personal film called “The Madan Sara”.

This film raises awareness to the Madan Sara as they speak directly to society to share their dreams for a life in Haitian society that is fair. “I want to show the film in every community across Haiti and eventually throughout different countries. It is an ambitious dream but the Madan Sara team is ready to rise to the occasion,” said Dupain.

By launching popular universities, or open public debates after each free public screening event, will give opportunities to start conversations about the matters of concern related to the well-being of the communities.

“Our goal is to create a film that serves as a powerful tool that can be used in Haiti and beyond to help gain support and visibility for the struggle of the Madan Sara. And now after a year of hard work, we have wrapped up the production, and we are ready to finalize the film,” he said.