Building hope for Haiti's reconstruction

20 year old Joassaint Nelson is from Philippeaux, an area in which thousands of earthquake survivors have been living in tents since the earthquake of January 2010. 

Even before the earthquake, unemployment in Haiti was estimated at a staggering 50%, just one of a host of socio-economic problems facing the country.  But when disaster struck two years ago, it destroyed thousands of small businesses and left many so traumatised they were unable to return to work even where jobs were available.    

That’s why support to people’s livelihoods is a core component of ActionAid’s three year, $13 million emergency response and recovery programme.  Working together with local partners we’ve supported thousands of people through cash for work programmes which pay community members a daily wage for work on projects such as clearing rubble, building terraces to promote soil conservation, and repairing roads and drainage canals.  

In 2011, working with local partner organisation COZPAM, we also began vocational training courses for people – particularly young people – to train as electricians, masons, plumbers and chefs.  Joassaint attended a three month course on masonry, learning skills which will help provide him with a living in the future. 

I want to be good at masonry to participate in my country’s reconstruction

Joassaint said.

Trainings like these are what young people like me need. This training gave me more self esteem and I feel more comfortable applying for a job because I have what I need to work. 

The vocational training courses have so far helped over 600 young people learn valuable new skills which will help them get back into the job market.