Haiti launches initiative to spruce up slums, provide opportunities

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — Haiti has launched a programme to spruce up slum areas and provide young underprivileged youths with better opportunities for their future.


Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, over the weekend, launched the project that will result in the repairing and painting of thousands of homes, installing solar street lights and setting up community centres, restaurants, schools, computer and Internet labs in Cité Maria and Jalousie, slum areas in the capital.


"This programme is part of our efforts to fight extreme poverty and reduce hunger," Lamothe told the Haitian website, HCNN.


"Our goal is to empower the youth and the vulnerable so they may have the tools they need to develop their communities and live in a more dignified way," said Lamothe, who was accompanied by the Minister of Social Affairs, Charles Jean-Jacques.


A number of young people have welcomed the initiative with 22-year-old Michael Madelin saying that he intends to use the Internet labs to do research.


"Previously, I had to go for miles from here and I often did not have money to offer myself the service," he added.


The Government-sponsored programme will be extended to other poor neighbourhoods in the capital as well as southern and northern regions.


The Government said it intends to build 90 community restaurants and so far 32 have been constructed, providing subsidised meals at a cost of US$0.25 cents.


"We are fully aware of the hardships the population of the poor communities are facing and we are here to tell them that we have not forgotten them. We lack means, but we are trying to do much with little," Lamouthe said.


Several dozen solar-powered streetlights have been installed, raw food kits and emergency coupons have been distributed in Cité Maria and hundreds of mothers have registered to receive monthly cash transfers and other social benefits as part of a broader programme, called Ti Manman Cheri (dear little Mother), that has already reached tens of thousands of mothers throughout the country.


Jean-Jacques, said small government-sponsored business entities, such as bakeries, would be established in the poor communities to enable people to produce bread for consumption and create job opportunities.


The Government has also launched an initiative to give credit to small vendors to facilitate the expansion of their activities.


 


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