Three years after the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince in Haiti, attempts to assist those living in camps to find or build new homes and livelihoods continue.
Rozette Roseau, who has been living in a tent for two years, never thought the day would come when she could feel safe in a new home. But the day did come. “I am almost done packing my things. All that is left for me to do is to take down the tent,” she says.
Originally from Jeremie, southern Haiti, Rozette moved to Port-au-Prince in 1992 in search of work and a better life. The mother of two boys, she made her living by taking in laundry and selling water in the streets. When the January 2010 earthquake struck the city, Rozette was one of the thousands of people who lost their homes and belongings. With no place to sleep that night, Rozette and her two sons followed countless others to the Dadadou Centre in Delmas 3, downtown Port-au-Prince.
Dadadou, once a popular sports centre, became home to hundreds of displaced people after the earthquake. With no job and no means to support herself and to provide for her two children, Rozette relied on charity from family and friends in order to survive. The thought of finding a home and moving out of the camp seemed impossible.
As part of their camp decongestion programme, the Red Cross worked to provide housing solutions to those living in Camp Dadadou.
Today all of the 150 families that were living there after the earthquake have been relocated. Rozette’s family was one of them.
“I feel like I am living again”, she says as she sits in her new home. “Now, I don’t have to worry about getting rained on, or about thieves ripping my tent apart and taking the few things I have.”
Rozette also received a small livelihoods grant from the Red Cross, with which she was able to start a small business selling cosmetics. Her children have also returned to school after almost two years of being unable to attend. Finally Rozette is able to take steps towards rebuilding the life she had before January 12th, 2010.
“If it wasn’t for the help of the Red Cross, I think I would still be in the camp living under a tent – not because I wanted to, but because I had no choice. The Red Cross gave me a choice.”
By Lorraine Taggart