Guerda Decerant is a 38-year-old single mother bringing up five children alone. When 2010’s earthquake decimated Port-Au-Prince, she lost both her house and her livelihood. But five years on, Guerda is back in business.
After the earthquake
Like 1.5 million Haitians, Guerda and her children found themselves in a temporary camp after the disaster. Unable to afford to build her own shelter, she shared a muck-filled, damp tent with her sister.
Guerda could not afford to send her children to school. She was anxious for the security of her daughters. She lived in fear that her sons would join the gangs which were rampant in the camps.
Back to business
Concern Worldwide’s ‘Return To Neighbourhoods’ project relocated Guerda’s family from the troublesome Boliman Brandt camp to a new, safe and secure home. Through a small business grant and a training programme, she has returned to entrepreneurship.
Her store started off small, but with demand high she has now expanded her business. Guerda’s shop is a small emporium of food, cosmetics and household essentials. It is a vital outlet in her newly-rebuilt neighbourhood.
“Concern’s ‘Return to Neighbourhoods’ project has woken up the fighting woman that I am which has been dormant since the earthquake on 12 January 2010. I am now very confident in my future and that of my children.”
Guerda is not only building a business. She is building a future for her five children. Her ultimate goal is to send them to university when they have finished school.
Family life has at last returned to normal. The children have settled into their new house, returned to school life and even find spare time to help their mother out in her shop.
“Thanks to my business, I don’t depend on anyone. I have not yet attained all of my objectives but I can look after my childrens’ needs today and provide for their future.”
Guerda’s recovery is an emblem of the resilience of the people of Haiti. Yet although the country's economy is beginning to grow, almost 80,000 people are still living in temporary camps around the city. Concern is working to find new homes and livelihoods in Port-Au-Prince for families like Guerda's. Your continued support will help us work with those who have lost everything find opportunity and independence.
Find out more
Find out more about this, and our other work, by receiving email updates.
- Find out more about Concern's work in Haiti
- Read our CEO's feature on progress in Haiti (Irish Examiner)
- Read about the reconstruction efforts in Port-Au-Prince
- Haitian native Jeanfranel Tham talks about his memories of the earthquake.