Le Brocanphile store owner committed to helping educate underprivileged girls
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Twenty per cent of the sales from Élie-Dominique Sigouin’s vintage boutique, Le Brocanphile in L’Île-Perrot go towards his life calling – to help underprivileged girls in third-world countries receive an education.
Helping underprivileged girls in Haiti receive an education has been a life calling that recently became a reality for Élie-Dominique Sigouin, owner of Le Brocanphile, a second-hand and vintage boutique in L’Île-Perrot.
Sigouin, 64, opened his store one year to the day when he sat down to talk about his charitable work and motivation to help others with The Journal last Saturday, February 3.
“We have a respect for women in our society and we believe in equality in many things in general. The same emphasis towards girls’ education isn’t as prevalent in many Third World countries,” said Sigouin.
“I believe the education of young girls in the Third World can save this planet in the long term. I’m doing what I can. Right now I sponsor two orphans and by the end of the year I’ll double my commitment and sponsor four orphans. And if business goes well, I’ll sponsor more girls,” he added.
Helping others in need
Sigouin said he’s thought about getting involved to help others less fortunate than him for the past 45 years. “Then I decided to act instead of thinking about it. I never had the money to travel and sponsor someone so I opened this store. Everything I sell is used to sponsor young orphans,” he said.
The money he collects is donated to the Fraternité Haïti des Trois-Lacs, a non-profit regional organization made up of two dozen volunteers who commit their time to help repair, build, and maintain orphanages and schools and provide children with meals each day.
“There’s a group of about 25 volunteers who are taking care of three orphanages in Haiti. They’re retired policemen, accountants, and people from other backgrounds. They’re fine people. I went to their meetings and saw they were spending about $1,000 a month in expenses,” said Sigouin.
The rest of the money collected goes directly for the charitable work, said Sigouin. “At least I knew my money would be going where it was supposed to go. All volunteers are from the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region so I can easily talk to them,” he added.
The money Sigouin donates to the foundation for sponsorship each year provides for their education, one meal a day and a ‘roof over their heads’, said Sigouin. “The volunteers are rebuilding buildings. They’re not just keeping things afloat. It’s been one disaster after another in Haiti in the last 20 years,” he said.
All sales help raise funds
Just about all the items for sale at Le Brocanphile were amassed in the past 12 years from different garage sales. “I had a basement full of boxes and I had to do something with all these items. That’s when I decided to open up my boutique last year,” Sigouin said.
Twenty per cent from every sale is donated to the foundation. Items that have coloured-tags were provided to Sigouin exclusively to raise funds for the foundation. “These items were given to me for the cause and I donate 50 per cent from each of these items that are sold,” he said.
The remaining money Sigouin collects is to purchase other items for the store and to help finance his shop. “I also invested part of my retirement fund to buy the building. It costs me more to be here than I’m making but I’m trying to do something to help this planet survive a little longer,” he said.
Le Brocanphile is located at 41 Grand Boulevard in L’Île-Perrot. It is open Thursday to Sunday from noon until 6 p.m. More information is available at the Le Brocanphile Facebook page www.facebook.com/lebrocanphile/.