Close to the northern coast of Haiti, in Petit Colu village, Clairsmina Cadeau (35) is making plans for the future of her farm and her profession. In a country where the burden of getting through today is so great that thinking about the future is impossible for so many, adopting a future-oriented outlook is transformative.
In 2006, Clairsmina joined a women’s community group that Heifer has been working with for almost 12 years. Clairsmina wanted to join because she saw the other women in her community that were part of the group taking proactive steps towards improving their lives and their community. She wanted that, too.
In Clairsmina’s community group, members meet together, help each other with domestic and farm work, and pool their resources to make loans to each other, which they use to buy seeds and otherwise improve their farms and lives. The group is currently saving to get a water filter for the cistern that is the source of the village’s water. After the installing the water filter, the group is planning to repair the community’s road.
Clairsmina plans to plant coffee soon, the most lucrative crop they can grow in this area. She also received goats from Heifer, and her herd has grown to 13. Besides providing nutrition, these goats function as a savings account and source of security. Clairsmina knows that if her four-year old daughter, Suzenaicka Enrilus, gets sick, she can sell a goat to pay for treatment.
Heifer started helping us, now we are working on our own to help the others. Clairsmina Cadeau, Heifer project participant
But that’s not all. Clairsmina didn’t get to finish secondary school as a teenager; now she is completing her education and plans to go on to nursing school. She wants to become a nurse because of the lack of medical care in her community—if people get sick, they must travel a long way to the nearest clinic. It’s just too far in many cases. Many people in the area die from cholera, and even from diarrhea and fever. Clairsmina wants to be able to provide at least first aid before neighbors have to make the long journey down the mountain to find the closest clinic.
Clairsmina is looking forward to passing on goats from her herd and getting more women in the community to join the group. Speaking on the community group’s outlook facing the future, Clairsmina says, “Heifer started helping us, now we are working on our own to help the others."
Top photo: Clairsmina Cadeau's daughter Suzenaicka Enrilus, 4, holds a coconut outside her home in Petit Colu, Haiti.
Editor's Note: Clairsmina lives near the northern coast of Haiti, outside of the areas most affected by last September's Hurricane Matthew. More information on the recovery efforts in southern Haiti are coming soon. Catch up on what's happened so far right here.