Julien Nadia is a 34-year-old single mother living with her three children in Haut Damier, a community in Cabaret, Haiti. Just like many other families, Julia’s family was affected by the earthquake in 2010. Her opportunities to earn an income greatly decreased after the earthquake and she was unable to pay her rent.
She and her children sheltered in a tent built on a small plot of land she had bought many years ago.
Julien Nadia and her three children lived in this tent during 5 years. They felt unsafe, as the house was made with tarpaulin, and the space too small for the family to be comfortable. Photo by UMCOR Haiti
Even before the earthquake, the living situation was difficult for Nadia’s family because her revenue had never exceeded US $2 per day. She was always struggling to care for her children and keep them in school. After the disaster, the family’s situation further deteriorated. “It is not easy raising three children in such a small space with few resources.” she said.
“I even thought to send the oldest to live with relatives in Port-au-Prince, but then I remembered the problem of children being kept from school and forced to work as domestic servants (restiviks), and I abandoned the idea, preferring to keep my children with me and caring for them as I could.”
UMCOR has assisted the population of Cabaret with many different aspects of their lives. As part of UMCOR’s intervention evaluation, 40 households were identified as the most vulnerable—those who need integrated support.
Nadia was head of one of the identified vulnerable households. With that designation, she also received training in Micro and Small Enterprise (MSE) and received a cash grant from UMCOR to establish a small business.
She adds: “As part of its assistance, UMCOR provided us with one-year rental subsidies, so we could live in better conditions while UMCOR worked on the new houses.” UMCOR invested funds into the construction of one-to-three-bedroom houses for these same beneficiaries. The size of the house depends on the size of the family.
Nadia started her business, but her grant was mostly used to support her house construction. She provided rocks and water, as she really wanted to contribute to improving her family’s living environment. Now she and her children feel safer living in their newly built house.
The new house built by UMCOR: a dream came true. Photo by UMCOR Haiti
“Finally, I can say that I am the greatest beneficiary of UMCOR. I received a grant to set up a business to increase my income, and what is even more amazing, this house, that I proudly show you, was also built by UMCOR. I lived before in a tent, but now I have my own house with more privacy for me and my children.” Nadia was so happy that she lifted her eyes and hands to heaven saying “Glory be to God who placed UMCOR in my path.”
*UMCOR Haiti was established in 2010 in response to the massive earthquake that left 230,000 people dead, more than 300,000 injured, and more than 1 million displaced. Prior to that, UMCOR had opened an office in northern Haiti from 2004-2006 in response to devastation caused by Hurricane Jeanne.