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November 14, 2023

Judaea's story:
A resilient Haitian woman finds peace in a suffering Haiti

Marie Carmelle Bien-Aimée


Judaea is one of thousands of people suffering from the negative fallout of armed conflicts between rival gangs in Haiti. AVSI, through the Consortium with GOAL, CESVI, and BHA/USAID, activated a humanitarian emergency project to meet the multi-sectoral essential needs of affected people in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince. 

In Haiti, 89% of the population lives in poverty, food insecurity is becoming a prevalent problem, and the country, for the majority, is controlled by armed gangs. Judaea, like many other women, has suffered the repercussions of the worsening security situation in the country.

She leads a hard life where she struggles every day: an illness that makes her fragile, her seven orphaned children, and her house and business destroyed during armed conflicts, and not forgetting a heavy personal past that gnaws at her insides, where old memories still overwhelm her. At her meeting with AVSI, she said with a sad expression and a blank look, “Life seems to suffocate me a lot, and I only live for my children.”

During the clashes, she lost her husband, who was a motorcycle taxi driver in Martissant, and she nearly lost her own life while working at her business located in Croix-des-Bouquets, but somehow survived after escaping under fire from the 400 Marozo gang. Since then, to feed her children, she went from house to house, asking people to do their laundry or begging because she didn’t have the heart to let her little ones starve. 

AVSI collaborates with local organizations to create a protection network and fight against gender violence, among other critical services. So, with the involvement of KAPAM, a local organization, Judaea met AVSI, and since then, she found support that helped her get out of the difficult situation she was experiencing. She benefited from psychological assistance, which allowed her to work on her suffering; then, she had several meetings in psychosocial activities where her group’s energy and staff’s support helped her see life differently and work on her life skills. “AVSI is not just an organization; it is a friend with whom I can say many things,” said Judaea during a group discussion. She also benefited from economic support, which helped her cope with the piles of worries and protect her from the risks weighing on her family and herself. 

Judaea is now a participant in the “Addressing multi-sectoral needs in the Metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince (MAPP)” project, specifically the Protection component, launched in May 2023 in consortium with GOAL and CESVI and financed by BHA/USAID. The objective is to guarantee rapid access to appropriate, quality protection services adapted to gender, age, and disability, for men, women, and children affected by crises and threatened by the cholera epidemic. 

With all this support she received, we noticed a different expression on Judaea‘s face; she seemed more alive and happier.

She testified to the positive changes in her life during her meeting with AVSI, “if I had met AVSI well before, there would have been many things that would have been spared me in life …” shared Judaea.

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