Can you imagine raising six children in the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster? Today we’re breaking with our usual convention of bringing you the 1,000 Families stories in the first person so we can share the important story of life in Haiti five years after the earthquake through the experience of this Creole-speaking mom.
Natasha Dumolas is a 29-year-old mother of six from a remote community in Jacmel, which is in recovery from the earthquake that devastated much of Haiti five years ago. Along with Natasha were her children Giovanni Triffon, 13, Jass Philippo, 11, John Kelly Triffon, 7, Withjina Triffon, 5.
The Dumolas family received safe shelter from the Canadian Red Cross, as part of the organization’s efforts to help families rebuild their homes and communities. The new home is in keeping the Red Cross commitment to “build back, better,” and is capable of withstanding another earthquake or force 3 hurricane.
“This new home has brought a great change in my life,” Natasha told the Canadian Red Cross. “I was sleeping in a leaky house. When it rained you had to go up and patch the roof or cover all of our belongings so they wouldn’t get wet. Now I can sleep without worrying about the rain.”
Speaking Creole, Natasha shared her family’s experiences in the Red Cross video, Haiti Rebuilds: Five Years After the Earthquake. Natasha has learned how to treat water for drinking and make soap for hand-washing to avoid diseases through community-based health and first aid projects provided by Red Cross.
While recently travelling in Haiti on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross, photographer Johan Hallberg-Campell came across the Dumolas family on the way to a nearby school. The Dumolas’ family photo is featured in Johan’s photo exhibition, Haiti: Five Years On, to highlight the progress in the long road to recovery following the earthquake.
The Red Cross has assisted more than 5 million earthquake survivors like the Dumolas family, including more than 19,000 families which have received safe shelter solutions from Canadian donations.
About the Canadian Red Cross response in Haiti
The 2010 earthquake that struck Haiti impacted millions of lives and represents the largest single-country response in Red Cross history. Through support received from generous Canadians and the Government of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross acted immediately, deploying aid workers and relief supplies to affected communities. Five years later, the work continues through long-term projects to support communities as they continue on their path to recovery.
New roads, schools, and homes have been built. Mothers and children have increased access to heath care through rehabilitated health centres in rural areas and the rebuilding of a department hospital. Community level programs are reducing disease transmission, encouraging proper hygiene and addressing issues of violence and abuse through prevention education.
As Haiti is frequently impacted by natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes, the Red Cross is also working alongside communities to build local disaster risk reduction capacities so that communities are better prepared the next time disaster strikes. The Canadian Red Cross is committed to continuing this work in the years ahead and providing support to empower a country that continues to build back stronger. You can learn more here.
This is #1000families post number 81. Do you have a family story of your own to contribute to the 1,000 Families Project? Or do you know a family that might want to do so? Learn more about how the series got started and how to get involved here. You can find all of the #1000families posts here.