Editor’s Note: A commitment to empower women is embedded in Heifer International’s core values for sustainable development. In honor of International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8, this week we’re sharing the stories of Heifer participants who take the gifts of animals and training and run with them to extraordinary results for themselves and their communities. Through hard work and innovations, each woman secures her rightful place in the family, the marketplace and the world.

A refrigerator was hurtling toward Roseline Jean Pierre whenshe jettisoned her 7-day-old daughter Jessie out of the third floor of aPort-au-Prince apartment building during the 7.0 magnitude earthquake thatrocked Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010.

By the time Jessie was tossed into the hands of waitingneighbors, the third floor was more like a first floor, the two floors belowhaving already collapsed. Jessie’s 5-year-old sister made it next, followed byJean Pierre, who jumped just before the rest of the building collapsed intorubble.
“God saved me,” said Jean Pierre, sitting in a field in ruralHaiti a year and a half later.

After losing their home, Jean Pierre and her daughters fledsouthwest to Cance, where her father’s family is from. She received a gray andbrown calf in July as part of a Heifer partnership with the farmingorganization CAPAS.

She and her family are living in the farming organization’soffice for now, but Jean Pierre plans to use the income from selling milk tobuy another cow and eventually hopes to earn enough to build a house.

Though she’s a city girl at heart, she’s adjusting to rurallife and will do whatever it takes to provide for her family. Resilience anddetermination saved her and her daughters once already. Her continued strengthin the face of adversity and change are an inspiration to women everywhere.

Read more about Jean Pierre in the February 2012 issue of World Ark. To donate to the Haiti REACH project, click here.
Story by Katya Cengel
Photo by Geoff Oliver Bugbee

Author

Donna Stokes

Donna Stokes is the managing editor of World Ark magazine. She has worked for Heifer International since September 2008 when she leaped over to the nonprofit world from a two-decade career in newspaper journalism.