Residents of Canaan, a settlement that appeared on Port-au-Prince’s outskirts after 209,000 Haitians were displaced in the 2010 earthquake, are getting access to financing and job training.
It’s part of a $1.7 million project sponsored by the American Red Cross and USAID Haiti. PADF and Global Communities are implementing the yearlong project, called “Ann Bouste Canaan.” The goal is to promote equitable & resilient urban development by creating jobs and preparing people for the workforce.
One objective of the program is to train 150 young people in vocational schools. On June 13, a group of 26 young completed their training. They received certificates in sewing, after studying for several months at a vocational school run by the nonprofit INDEPCO.
“Today I’m a new person,” said John Dolly Louis Charles, who was proud to receive his certificate. “I thank all the institutions that contributed to this project.”
John was part of the textiles training, but 200 others his age are training in computer science, technical windows, floral art, and plumbing. Upon completing the two-month training, each trainee will be integrated into the program’s employer network.
The project, which started last July, has already made huge progress in training workers and equipping small businesses in Canaan.
In January, over 350 entrepreneurs applied to have their ideas brought to life in a business plan competition. After a 10-stage selection process, 29 businesses were awarded funding.
As a result of the funding, the winning businesses are expected to generate 400 new jobs.
An additional 30 small businesses will receive technical training on microfinance and accounting, including access to online credit.
Finally, 150 small business owners will get connected to microfinance institutions for financial services like micro loans and insurance.
The project is launching Haiti’s working class on an upward trajectory. Young people are training and becoming workplace-ready, and established businesses are receiving the financing and technical assistance necessary for long-term growth.
For young people like John, it’s a chance to have a livelihood. “I have a craft and I look forward to taking care of myself,” he says.