Today, Toussaint Léon feels like he is living again. The last few years have been a struggle. He was buried under the rubble of his apartment building for days after the 2010 earthquake. Today, he is living in a brand new complex and he and his wife own a shop on the same street.
“I am happy," he says. "I now have a place to receive guests. I’m not ashamed anymore when someone comes to my house.”
Nearly half of the buildings in Toussaint's neighborhood, Delmas 32, were destroyed in the earthquake. Today, it’s a bustling urban center teeming with life thanks to the construction of apartment buildings, an outdoor market, newly-paved roads and sewers. It's part of PADF’s Urban Project for Participatory Development program (PRODEPUR), financed by the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank in partnership with Haiti’s Bureau of Monetization of Development Aid Programs (BMPAD).
What began as an emergency response became a multi-year development project that includes five square miles of roads, more than 300 solar-powered streetlights, new sidewalks and paths, water kiosks and more.
In 2015, 18 families who were displaced after the earthquake moved into a brand new residential complex on Rue Durand. Construction continues on another 24-family unit that includes a basketball court and an amphitheater.
The construction is creating local jobs in construction and services. Forty-year-old Laurent Vertier has worked at the Delmas construction for nearly one year. He has had trouble finding steady work in the past, he says, and must work to support his wife and four young children. The construction work has changed things for his family. “People are more willing to give me credit because they know I have a job," says Laurent. "When I get home at night, I’m tired, but knowing I have this job gives me strength.”
Magdala sells rice, beans and lalo, a traditional Haitian spinach stew, to construction workers at the Delmas site. She will sell lunch to workers like Laurentcredit because she knows they are working.
“Business has picked up since the construction started," she says.