Small-business owner, Pavilus Linoise, fell on hard times after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, but now she is able to care for her family while growing her business. Photo: UMCOR Haiti
Pavilus Linoise, 46, a single mother of four, lives in Carrefour, a community some 10 kilometers (about six miles) from Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Linoise was among the millions of Haitians impacted by the devastating earthquake of 2010. At the time of the quake, she was at work in her small shop, where she also lived, and was unable to escape the collapsing building. As a result, she lost her right arm. She also lost her business and livelihood, the only source of income for her and her children.
Since then, Linoise has struggled to make ends meet. Like many women in the area, she borrowed money, 1000 Haitian gourdes (about $16 U.S.), from an unscrupulous broker, which she had to pay back with 5 percent interest, making a 50 gourdes (less than $1 U.S.) payment each day. “This was very hard for me because the interest rate was so high, but I did not have any other choice,” she said. She used the loan to start a business as a street vendor, but she continued to struggle. “I was still not able to take care of my family, and I was very disappointed,” she said.
Then Linoise enrolled in SEED, an economic recovery program implemented by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) in Haiti. SEED—Strengthening Entrepreneurship and the Economy through Business Development—empowers people in vulnerable communities to establish small businesses. It develops participants’ core business knowledge through financial literacy and business training. There are 450 participants in the project in Carrefour.
As a SEED beneficiary, Linoise received a $350 U.S. grant to establish her new business selling beans, peanuts, and maize. Through the program, she learned how to start and grow her business using best business practices and applying smart skills — such as recording, planning, budgeting, and saving — which she learned from UMCOR.
“UMCOR has enabled me to take care of my family, and I am no longer disappointed,” Linoise said. “Now my family and I eat three times a day, and, this year, my business success has allowed me to cover my youngest daughter’s school fees. I am proud that I do not need to borrow money and slave to pay it back with the high interest.”
Linoise said she is happy and proud to be an independent woman. “Thank you, UMCOR,” she said, “for supporting me and other deserving people like me.”
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*This story was prepared and written by the Livelihood Team, Seed III Project, of UMCOR’s country office in Haiti.