While women form the backbone of society in Haiti, they all too often confront gender issues and stereotypes, and have little access to financial or business support: our Chache Lavi programme aimed to change this.
Running the programme on Île à Vache from June 2015 to the end of 2017, we identified local women who had a business idea, but lacked the experience or confidence to pursue it. Grounding participants in life-skills training – encompassing areas like civil rights, healthcare, nutrition, and self-esteem – we then moved to financial training and business plan development, and granted participants a small bursary to set up their business. During their start-up phases, we continued to mentor participants to ensure that everything ran smoothly and successfully for them.
45 new businesses were set up during the programme, including everything from bakers and beauty suppliers to hairdressers, butchers and more. Each new enterprise empowers its owner with their own steady source of income and, crucially, a new sense of independence and self-confidence; the fact that every business running at the time of Hurricane Matthew not only survived but grew stronger after the storm shows the resilience and determination that the programme embedded in participants.
In this way, Chache Lavi’s legacy enables women to control their lives and livelihoods, sometimes for the very first time.
Promoting an entrepreneurial culture and independent spirit in participants, the difference made by Chache Lavi is remarkable.
Jascinthe Laguerre participated in Chache Lavi: you can read all about the difference that the programme made in her life here.