Haitian widow raising 3 children learns job skills, moves from shack to safe, new home

Haitian widow raising 3 children learns job skills, moves from shack to safe, new home

Rosena Dutervil is a 50-year-old widow in Pignon, Haiti, who lost her husband Caleme Jean in 2016. Since then, she has pushed her three children — Rolin (17), Gina (13) and Darlie (7) — to continue pursuing excellence in their schooling. However, as studies have repeatedly pointed out, students in poverty housing generally have lesser educational outcomes than those who grow up in decent homes.

Rosena with children Rolin and Gina outside their old home in Pignon, Haiti.

And the shack where Rosena was raising her children was in terrible shape even by the standards of Haiti, long the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and a country where 59 percent of the population lives on about $2.41 or less per day.

Rosena, though, did not even make $2.41 per day when she came to the local Fuller Center for Housing seeking help finding a decent place to live for her and her three children.

The local Fuller Center put Rosena in touch with a group called Top+, started by many of the same service-minded people who first brought The Fuller Center to Pignon years ago. They provided Rosena with financial education and then a loan. She then began growing fruits and vegetables that she sells in the local market, earning enough to provide the basics for her family.

Rosena managed to save up enough money to purchase a small piece of land, though not enough to secure a traditional, interest-bearing loan from a private bank. She was, however, now able to partner with The Fuller Center to build a simple, decent home.

Rosena is The Fuller Center for Housing’s newest homeowner in Haiti, and her three children now have a safe home in which to grow up and pursue their education. — and her zero-interest mortgage repayments will go into a fund to help others in Pignon get the very same hand up, the same way other families’ repayments helped her.

“I will keep praying for The Fuller Center for Housing so that they can keep up the good work and continue to change people’s lives as they did for me,” Rosena said. “I feel like i will live longer with no more worries for rainy times and no more dust in my floor.”

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