Why I have hope for my country, Haiti
20 Dec 2016 by Barbara Calixte, Project Manager, Poverty Reduction Unit, UNDP Haiti
My name is Barbara Calixte. I want to tell you about my people, the Haitian people and why we have hope for our country.
I joined UNDP after the 2010 earthquake. Seeing such extensive destruction and damage, I knew I wanted to help rebuild my country. With reputation of working hand-in-hand with the Haitian people, UNDP was, for me, an ideal place.
It was without a doubt one of the most important decisions of my life.
After the earthquake, UNDP supported the government in relief and recovery work. We empowered communities to rebuild smarter and strengthened their ability to respond to future disasters. We talked to people who lost practically everything but who still had pride, will and hope that Haiti could get back on its feet.
I’ve seen real, tangible progress. That’s why Hurricane Matthew was so heartbreaking – it swept away much of that progress.
But I’ve also seen hope.
In Dame-Marie, I met an older couple who lost everything to Matthew. They were rebuilding their house with what meagre resources remained. Yet, they still had that will to fight.
That’s the essence of the Haitian character. And that’s what makes it possible for Haitians to continue to fight.
Haitians are proud people. Haitians have dignity.
That’s why UNDP’s cash for work programme, Soley Leve (rising sun), is so important. In exchange for wages, Haitians perform critical recovery work, like clearing irrigation canals or fixing sanitation systems. The money enables them to purchase food and rebuild their houses. Moreover, it involves people in their community’s recovery and development. This sense of ownership is the only way that progress in Haiti will be sustainable.
Haitians believe, like I do, that we can take charge of our own future. We can do it, we have hope, but we need your help in supporting these critical programmes.