In This Article
- A two-year-long political crisis in Haiti took a turn earlier this year after a hike in gasoline prices, which was quickly followed by a dramatic increase in the cost of food.
- The country has screeched to a standstill – schools across the country are closed, shops have shut their doors and hospitals have no supplies or power.
- This upheaval comes only three years after Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti in 2016. Many of the victims of this disaster still haven’t recovered from the damage and are, therefore, the most vulnerable during times of crisis.
- In partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Heifer Haiti is helping 6,000 hurricane victims move toward stability despite the country’s current sociopolitical climate.
Written by Claire Pressoir, Heifer Haiti communications officer.
During the past two years, the sociopolitical situation in Haiti has deteriorated rapidly. Good news is scarce and when it finally reaches us, it's like a candle lighting up the path, comforting us and giving us the courage to move forward.
The Operation for the Support Program for the Recapitalization of Hurricane Matthew Victims project has become this light in the lives of many people, and like any act done with courage and love, it is a blessing for those who give it and those who receive it.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, the objective of the project is the support of 6,000 farming families who were affected by the hurricane.
As the head of a household of seven, Samantha Belfort, like many single mothers, struggled to make ends meet. Her situation was even more difficult in the context of living in rural Haiti. But things began to change for Belfort after joining the project and receiving four goats.
"I’ve been trained on three topics including personal leadership development, fodder production and goat production," Belfort said. "Those sessions helped me to know the importance of the resources, the manner to let them grow and the benefits and profits that my family and I can have from them if we accept to breed them with respect to the good farming practices."
Economic development goes hand-in-hand with awareness of changes made to oneself and one's environment. Most importantly, Belfort explained that because of what they've learned through project, she and other members of the community stopped abusing their children.
Belfort and others in the project are also treating their animals with more care. "We have heard about a rich and balanced diet for animals," she said. "Free animal husbandry was practiced, our animals were rarely kept in a [protected area]. The fodder gardens, I did not know [about] these things. We still did not know the importance of animal care.
"In agriculture, we had no control over our expenses, even the calculation of a profit margin. But now, through personal leadership development, and Heifer's values, we are the best administrator of our resources."
Belfort is proud of this progress and does not hide it. The goats have since delivered kids with new hope.
"In addition to money from the sale of livestock to pay school fees, [we can afford to] purchase seeds and tools for the cultivation of the land. The rest of the livestock will be ... an asset for the family, the expression of a significant increase in our living conditions."