“My heart is heavy because I will be leaving a country that became my second home, a team that I considered my family, and a community of people who touched my life so much,” said Jeff Cosico, World Renew’s Livelihoods Program Manager in Haiti.
After four years, World Renew has completed its response to the horrific earthquake of January 2010 that took the lives of more than 200,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless. Thanks to the generosity of thousands of people across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, World Renew was blessed to carry out a $19 million response that included 21 wells, 1,400 toolkits, 3,500 tarps, two water filtration systems, 3,425 earthquake and hurricane-resistant homes, 800 latrines, 2,166 goats, 17 seed banks, 180,000 tree seedlings, trauma counseling, and much more.
Cosico is one of the staff who managed this effort. His area of responsibility was overseeing the Livelihoods for Earthquake Affected People (LEAP) program, which helped earthquake survivors rebuild their businesses and reinvest in their farms and livestock after the earthquake.
“I wanted to pursue higher education and become an engineer,” said Daniel Galan, a young Haitian man who was helped by this program. After losing his mother and all their possessions in the earthquake, Daniel had to work with his father to support his siblings. Through World Renew’s LEAP program he received three female goats.
“My goats gave birth to seven kids. I returned the first three to the association so that other families could benefit. Then I raised my seven goats. My two female goats had four more kids. I sold my five male goats, and with the money I raised from selling them, I bought a small cow. Now I am so happy because I can soon realize my dream of studying,” he said.
Daniel is not alone. Over 4,400 families have received agriculture-related assistance through the World Renew LEAP program. This includes tools and seeds for farmers to replant fields, goats to restock animal populations, tree seedlings to start nurseries, training in soil conservation methods, and seed banks to enable farmers to store crops until the price was right to sell. Sixty men and women were also trained on basic veterinary care to keep their goats and cows healthy.
In addition, over 1,000 micro-entrepreneurs received training and loans to start and expand small businesses, and 60 entrepreneurs received additional financial management training, coaching, mentoring, and small loans. They were able to start businesses which in turn created 57 new jobs for others.
Cosico, who came to World Renew from the Philippines with support from the Dutch organization ZOA, completed his LEAP contract in December 2013. “While I am sad to go, I feel fulfilled,” he said. “Just to see the smiles and changes that happened in people’s lives and in their communities is rewarding. I know that I’ve been able to be an agent of God, carrying out his work in this time of need. My prayer is that 10 years from now, children will still have smiles on their faces because their parents and community leaders were able to nurture the seeds we shared with them into fruitful and hope-filled lives.”
While World Renew’s earthquake response in Haiti has ended, its long-term development work with local partners and Christian churches in the country will continue. For more information, visit worldrenew.net/haiti
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