CARE Still Active Five Years After Haitian Earthquake

Five years after a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, aid agency CARE is continuing to provide support for people who are still living in tents as they move into more permanent neighbourhoods. CARE is running a unique program that matches the families of the homeless with residents who have standing houses that are in need of repairs.

CARE offering funding and training

One of the success stories is Angélène Jean who is a 30 year old woman with a fisherman husband and four children who have moved from a seaside makeshift shelter into the home of a friend. CARE was able to arrange the repairs of collapsed walls and cracked beams of the low concrete house. The agency was also able to offer both seed funding and training for Angélène to set up a small shop on the porch. Following the aftermath of the earthquake, life has dramatically improved.

“We lived under a tarpaulin for four years. People were sick, and the heat was terrible. When the CARE organisers and engineers came to look at the houses, I was so happy, because I didn’t know what to do.” says Angélène.

Transitioning to permanent housing

Largely as a result of the tireless work of John Augustin and his colleagues, all 31 homeless families of the fishing community have been able to successfully transition into permanent housing. Each family now has a rent free home for at least the next year and a half. The program made use of local workers who were trained to complete repairs which has resulted in new skills being brought to the community. Both guests and hosts are working to develop small businesses as well as other activities which will develop income and this has enabled them to plan for the future.

“We earn more than we ever did before. We’re paying school fees for all of our kids, and hoping to save up enough so my husband can buy his own fishing equipment.” adds Angélène.

Creating public spaces

As part of the transition process CARE is seeking to where possible to upgrade the areas that were used for camp spaces into public areas that will help breathe new life into the communities. Whilst there is still a long way to go and plenty of challenges to face, the future does look much brighter for people that were affected by the earthquake.

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