Looking to the future in post-quake Haiti

World Vision helps Bellanda’s family start a new life

Like many children who lived through Haiti’s devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake, 10-year-old Bellanda’s world changed forever on January 12, 2010.

When the ground in Port-au-Prince shook that unforgettable day, Bellanda’s home was destroyed. With most of the city in rubble and community infrastructure shattered, her family of seven had nowhere to live and no way to purchase basic supplies or earn money. Their chances of recovery — or even survival — seemed slim.

But hope dawned when they moved into a camp for internally displaced persons. Here, Bellanda’s family received critical supplies from World Vision, including tarps, blankets, hygiene kits, and cooking utensils that equipped them for daily life and enabled them to create a temporary home.

Life in the displacement camp was not without its challenges. Overcrowding encouraged the sharing of germs, and parents struggled to keep their children healthy. Fortunately, Bellanda’s parents — Netude and Gerard — didn’t need to worry. Thanks to a mobile health clinic operated by World Vision, Bellanda and her siblings received critical care whenever they became ill. “I’m grateful to World Vision doctors and nurses for their healthcare and support,” says Gerard.

Even better, World Vision taught Netude and Gerard how to prevent the spread of disease and keep their children healthy. In displacement camps like the one where Bellanda’s family lives, World Vision established Mother’s Clubs to help provide support and training in basic health issues. “In the Mother’s Clubs, they teach … so many things about life,” says Gerard, an outspoken advocate for fathers’ participation in child-rearing.

Today, Bellanda is healthy and able to experience the joys of childhood. World Vision’s Child-Friendly Spaces, where children are equipped to learn and socialize, have been an important part of this recovery process. Netude loves seeing her daughter sing, draw, and play at the Child-Friendly Spaces, and has noticed that Bellanda is beginning to leave the stress of the earthquake behind.

That’s something the entire family is starting to do. Thanks to a World Vision cash-for-work program that helps displaced families earn money by maintaining the camps, Netude and Gerard have been able to provide for their family, setting them on the road to self-reliance.

What’s more, Gerard recently participated in World Vision’s small business training, where he received practical guidance and support to open a shop selling wholesale and retail items. “It was great,” he says. “They taught me sales techniques, as well as how to manage a business and how to make a profit.” Gerard recognizes that this will not only enable him to earn a sustainable income for his family, but also contribute to rebuilding his entire community.

Recently, Bellanda’s family was enabled to leave the displacement camp and move into a room in town — another small step toward a new life. Though the recovery process is slow, they know they’re not alone.

World Vision continues to operate health clinics, Mother’s Clubs, and Child-Friendly Spaces in their area, and is committed to partnering with entrepreneurs like Gerard as they work to reconstruct their lives. “I’d … like to thank World Vision for the great work they are doing in communities,” says Gerard. “I pray their work continues so they can help many others who are in need.”

Netude, Gerard, Bellanda, and her cousin outside the family’s new home—a small room in town—with a basket of the goods Gerard sells to earn a living. Small business training and basic assistance offered by World Vision are equipping this family to begin building a new life.

Despite the challenges her family faced when the 7.0-magnitude quake destroyed their home last January, Bellanda is now healthy and has the opportunity to play and learn.

Bellanda plays with friends at a World Vision Child-Friendly Space. The opportunity to learn and socialize is helping her begin to recover from the trauma of the quake.