Bringing business back to Haiti

A couple in front of their new house built with the support of Caritas Austria. Credits: Caritas

A couple in front of their new house built with the support of Caritas Austria.
Credits: Caritas

Other Caritas programmes in Haiti are tackling the longer-term problem of the poverty trap while at the same time helping people get back on their feet after the tragedy of January 2010. Caritas Slovakia noticed that local businesswomen were struggling to keep their enterprises afloat after the earthquake. So many Haitians were hard up they couldn’t afford to buy things like clothes in the markets so the women stallholders were about to go bust.

Caritas Slovakia launched a micro-finance programme, “Mothers of the Market”, in June, starting with 20 women. The women were given business training to complement the practical experience they already had and a one-off grant of $500. Another 30 women began training in October. One of them is Daphney Nozan, a 26-year-old single mother with a seven-year-old daughter. Daphne’s clothes stall was failing but began to prosper again after the training: she made a clever switch to selling underwear, which meant she did not have to rent a large stall. “It’s saved my business,” said Daphne, “I could buy more stock to sell and not get into debt. I can send my daughter to school on the bus, make sure there is enough to eat at home and I am sure my business will grow more now.”

Caritas Internationalis launched a Flash Appeal soon after the earthquake for emergency funding to run until the end of April 2010. Sixty-three Caritas members across all seven regions of the confederation contributed.

The appeal funds provided:

  • Emergency relief for over 1.5 million survivors
  • Tents or tarpaulins for 100,000 people
  • Meals for 1.5 million people
  • Healthcare for more than 350,000 people
  • Counselling for more than 2,000 children living in temporary camps and the establishment of 25 schools

An Emergency Appeal followed to cover needs for May 2010 to April 2011 with a budget of $217million (€151.829,358). This is the first year of what will be a three to five year concerted Caritas recovery effort, reaching 1.4 million Haitians through the work of Caritas Haiti and 11 other Caritas members. The funds have so far provided:

  • Hygiene, shelter or kitchen kits for 265,000 people
  • Medical care for 50,000 patients
  • Transitional shelters for 7,500 families
  • School fees, meals or educational materials for 15,000 children
  • Health and hygiene advice for 2.4 million people about cholera and the distribution of more than 200,000 water purification tablets.


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