On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing an estimated 220,000 people and affecting 3.5 million others. Plan responded in the aftermath with emergency relief – providing water, food, and shelter to thousands of families.
Five years later, Plan continues to work with communities on the ground, but the focus has shifted to rebuilding for a stronger and brighter future. At the heart of this vision are young women, like 27-year-old Eva.
Coping in the aftermath
Like many others in Jacmel, Haiti, Eva’s life was thrown into disarray after the earthquake. She lost many of her friends and relatives.
“The 2010 earthquake had a great impact on me. In the immediate aftermath, I thought, ‘All ends here, there is no future for us,” said Eva.
“I kept wondering what life would be like, having seen the devastation around me. Everything had been turned upside down. My house was destroyed and I had to live in a tent.”
It took seven months before Eva was able to return to some kind of normalcy, saying to herself: “What is done is done. It is time to figure out how to restart.”
Finding independence in the chaos
Through her friend, Eva heard about Plan’s initiative for young women – a project aimed at improving the quality of life for young women by teaching them livelihood skills such as sewing, gardening and farming.
“When I heard about the project, I thought it was great and something that was needed in our community,” said Eva. “This project has rebuilt us, it makes us realize who we really are and what we are capable of. To me, it took us from a state of vulnerability to a state of independence.”
Empowered women, empowered communities
The group of women learned how to sew, raise chickens, garden and farm, as well as how to run their own business to sell their products in the community, a skill that goes beyond just benefiting themselves explained Eva:
“This has not just helped us, but it has helped our community and our families too. It gives us extra money to pay the school fees, while it cuts down on transportation costs, as villagers do not have to go into town.”
Spreading knowledge and empowerment
Through the project, Eva and the other women also learned about other issues, including gender based violence. As a result, they’ve become community role models, sharing what they have learned with other women.
“Before this project, I was reliant on my husband. Now, I plan to help others to become financially independent just the way Plan has helped me.”
Invest in girls and women
We’ve seen how investing in one girl or woman, like Eva, can lead to a world of change for families and entire communities. Empowered girls and women, share their skills and financial resources with those around them. Support the Because I am a Girl project – provide girls and women with their basic needs, like healthcare, water, protection and education – and watch hope multiply.