Another Haitian Family Looks Forward to a New Life with Support from IOM and DFID
Fanfan Woody, 35, married and father of six girls aged 4 to 17, lives with his family in a one-story gated house in the commune of Carrefour. He sits on the porch surrounded by his children while telling his story.
“The January 2010 earthquake caught me in the streets. I had just left the barber/clothing shop I owned in the area of Champs-de-Mars and was on my way to buy some food,” he says. Luckily his wife and children were safe, but both his business and his house collapsed, leaving them displaced and without a source of income.
They spent some nights sleeping in the open in a public square, then Fanfan bought some wood and second-hand metal sheets and built a shelter in the area of Delmas. The place, Terrain Acra, was a private property where several thousand displaced families gathered at the height of displacement.
“Life in Terrain Acra was miserable,” says Fanfan. “We were exposed to all sorts of dangers. Thieves would cut the tarpaulins with razors at night and steal from the tents. Once our shelter was set on fire, and we had to build it anew. When it rained, the camp was flooded and muddy, and we had to wrap plastic bags around our feet to walk. The hygienic conditions were bad; one of my children caught cholera and had to be hospitalized.”
They had lived in Acra for over three years when the IOM agents announced the start of the relocation project in the camp. It was great news for them. Fanfan enrolled in the project and looked for a house to rent in Carrefour, the neighborhood where he grew up.
Being the head of a large household, he could benefit from a double rental grant, which allowed him to rent the two-bedroom house where he now lives with his wife, mother and children. He also participated in a six-month professional training through the income generating activity program. “The course will be over in less than a month, and I’ll be a certified builder. I have high hopes that this course will open new job opportunities for me, as so far we have relied only on my occasional barber jobs and my wife selling food on the streets.”
Fanfan says life has improved dramatically since they relocated. “Here we feel safe and protected. My children can go to school and grow in a more suitable environment.”
Now that he can start rebuilding his normal life, he is more confident about the future: “My dream is to put together enough money to be able to reopen my barber shop,” adds Fanfan.