By Nadia Cherrouk, PADF Haiti Country Director
The merchants of Simmonds-Pelé, a neighborhood located in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, are beginning the year with a new market where they can sell their goods. It’s an exciting moment, because for many it is the first time in more than 15 years that they can feel good about the place where they do business.
A few days ago, PADF and the Municipality of Delmas held an opening ceremony with more than 150 people from Village Solidarité to mark the creation of a new market space that will allow 200 merchants, many of them women, from Simmonds-Pelé to have a clean and safe working environment, but also create a meeting point for the entire community.
The new infrastructure, built thanks to the joint efforts of the World Bank, the Caribbean Bank of Development, the Haitian government’s Bureau of Monetization (BMPAD), and PADF through the Urban Project for Participatory Development (PRODEPUR) project, was constructed following para-seismic guidelines in order to ensure that it remains safe for vendors and the general public.
The new space includes a number of important features. It has several platforms and tables to display merchandise and is equipped with a clinic, a closed storage area, green spaces, toilets and showers, as well as a covered butchery area to ensure improved sanitary conditions for meat processors. A cleaning crew is assigned to clean the market each day after business hours. In the evenings, the marketplace can become a socio-cultural center where youth from the neighborhood can study, listen to music, talk and play games.
One of the merchants, Jeanne Lironne Mondésir, told our team that although the market has been around since 1997, they never had anything close to what they have now:
“We were conducting business on mud, dirt and garbage, but finally PADF and the Haitian government came along and they delivered what they promised. For me, this is a dream come true. It took 18 trucks to clean out all the garbage that was here. Now, when I go to work I no longer have to worry about being sick. I think now that everything is clean and nice, more people will come to the market and I’ll be able to sell more.”
Many merchants like Jeanne expressed their appreciation saying that this project was a tremendous accomplishment and a meaningful way to improve not only their lives, but also the quality of life of the entire community.
This market became possible because the community decided that it was an important priority for them. What PADF did was execute the vision that the community had and create something that improved the lives of local residents and workers.
Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to start the new year!