At Mont Organisé, a rural area in Haiti’s north-east department which borders the Dominican Republic, Fadette is one of the 469 migrants women benefiting from an income-generating activity, vocational training and support in the creation of small businesses through income-generating micro projects. Patisipasyon fanm = Ayiti djanm!
"My life was drastically changed about a year ago. When I was deported for the second time from Dominican Republic. I was housekeeper in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic for 4 years. I was deported with two of my children. A bus took us from Santo Domingo to Elias Pina. My money was stolen. After my children and I spent one night in a detention center, we were to the border point of Elias Pina-Belladère. There, I had to borrow money to survive and come back to Mont-Organisé to find my husband and two other children. Fortunately, we arrived here safe and sound, " begins Fadette Mertilin.
The story of Fadette is common and reflects the story of many migrant women in an irregular situation. A mother of four children, without a job,identify document or passport, and a husband farmer who does not earn enough money to feed the family and pay the childrens’school fees, she crossed the border with two of her kids to find a job make a vital contribution to the sustenance and rebuilding of her family. Many women like Fadette cross the border, settle in the Dominican Republic and send a significant portion of their incomes earned abroad back home.
Encourage the empowerment of women migrants and help them build their capacities
A year after her return in Haiti, Fadette welcomes us to her store, with a smile on her face.
Her shop is called " L’éternel est mon berger ” and it is well stocked. A few months ago, Fadette was included in the income-generating assistance program and is one of the 469 migrant women who have already received assistance through vocational training to help start small businesses through income-generating micro projects. A month ago, she received her starter kit, which included: a 25kgs bag of rice, a 12.50kgs bag of peas, a 25kgs bag of sugar , a 25kgs bag of corn , a 25kgs bag of flour , a can of 10l oil, a box of herrings, a case of chicken broth-cube, a case of milk, butter, packets of spaghetti, cans of tomato paste, and 5 kg of garlic. Since then, Fadette has already diversified her goods.
"If you earned 10 gourdes, do not eat 15 gourdes"
Coached by our partner Centre d’Animation Paysanne et d’Action Communautaire (CAPAC), with knowledge and new tools to manage their small businesses, Fadette and other migrants beneficiaries of this activity reestablishe their shops with more professionalism and self-confidence.
"I enjoy working as a shopkeeper. This is a first for me. I had never been a merchant in my life. My shop is next to my house, it's very convenient" she smiles, selling onions and tomato paste to a passing customer. " The secret of a good shopkeeper is to know how to talk to people, to know the price of your merchandises , to not to mix in your money and to not to give credit. You must also be careful not to eat your profits. If you've earned ten gourdes ,
do not eat 15 gourdes. That's what I learned at the training, " she states as she counts her money.
Fadette’s new activity provides her with a more regular income. On average she sells 300 to 400 gourdes of goods per day. This allows her to buy other products, "I select those that my customers’ perfer, such as spaghetti, peas, soap, vermicelli. It's important to know what products the customer is looking for, " she says.
Financial empowerment but also documentation and schooling
Since the beginning of the project entitled "Assistance to vulnerable children and women in the border regions between Haiti and the Dominican Republic" which began in March 2016, 646 vulnerable heads of households (469 women and 176 men), such as Fadette, have received income-generating activities; 203 children returned to school last September, and 2,073 beneficiaries received their identification documentation ( such as birth certificates or archive’ records). Documentation assistance is of crucial importance to promote the regularization of migrants.
Documentation is of crucial importance for the regularization of migrants. In some rural areas of the country, obtaining a birth certificate or an archive’ record is a slow, expensive and complicated process. With support from the Government of Canada, IOM and its partner Initiative Citoyenne pour les Droits de l’Homme( ICDH) are helping border populations obtain these valuable documents.
Without a birth certificate, a person cannot register for school, obtain an identity card, a legal marriage, cannot run for local or national elections, or obtain a death certificate, Without an archive’ record, it is impossible also to obtain a passport.
In rural border areas, not having a passport means crossings the border illegally, exposing irregular migration toincreased risk of being victims of abuses and exploitations, human trafficking, theft and violence. Women and children are the most exposed to these risks.
According to the first national survey of immigrants in the Dominican Republic, 458,233 Haitians live in the Dominican Republic. They represent 87.3% of all migrants living in the DR. In addition, it is estimated that 100,000 Haitians cross the border each week without any documentation
IOM and its local partner ICDH facilitate the first step towards obtaining legal documentation. Obtaining a birth certificate and an archive’ record will allow beneficiaries to apply for a passport and promote regular and documented migration.
Fadette, her husband and her four children have already obtained their birth certificates. It will now be necessary to apply for another birth certificate, for little 3 month old Lidraelle, whose smile illuminates her mother’s store.