©InfoAt 66, Camille Marole has lived his whole life in Delmas 19, an area of Port-au-Prince completely destroyed by the Haiti earthquake of 12 January 2010. Delmas 19 was already in a bad state, with precarious housing and next to no sanitation, but the disaster made the situation far worse.
For Camille, this meant the loss of his house. He explains: “I was not at home when the earthquake hit. When I managed to get back to my house I saw that it had totally collapsed and that everything had been stolen: my TV, my radio, everything.”
Left with no alternative, Camille pitched a tent on the nearby marketplace – along with around 50 other families who had also lost their homes. The tents were cobbled together from anything the families could find: tarpaulins, scraps of metal and wooden poles.
A new home
Camille and the other families lived there until a grant of £308 from the British Red Cross enabled them to pay for one year’s rental accommodation. Camille says: “I am much more comfortable now. I was not at all at ease living in the marketplace.”
This was not the end of the support Camille received. Laughing, he recalls: "I was lying on the floor when I received an SMS message from the British Red Cross to tell me I was receiving a cash grant of £77 from them. I was so surprised that I jumped straight up in the air. It was a good day.”
Camille used this livelihoods grant to pay the school fees for three of his children. At 19, 22 and 24 they are above average school age. This is because Camille’s family could not afford to pay for their schooling on consecutive years.
A new business
The money also helped him start a small business selling sweets and soap in the marketplace. Camille explains: “I used to sell shaved ice before the earthquake, but I realised that it is too difficult for me to push the big freezer around now; I am not as strong as I was. So I decided to sell sweets. They are easier to carry to and from the marketplace every day.”
Camille will receive another cash grant from the British Red Cross, accompanied by business training. This will enable him to make the most of his grant and ensure that his new sweet-selling business can continue to provide for his family long after the British Red Cross leaves.
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