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Haiti

Magalie, 36

Haitian internally displaced by the earthquake of 12 January 2010.

When the earthquake happened I was in an alleyway with two other people. I moved away from the building but the other two didn’t move fast enough and were killed by a falling wall. I ran to my home looking for my cousin’s son who had stayed in the house to study but the house had collapsed with him inside. I had been looking after him since he was a little boy. We found him in the rubble the next day. We spent a few days on the mountain, looking for water but couldn’t find any – we couldn’t find anything. Then someone told us that we should come here, to the camp.

Since we have been here it has been one problem after another. When the sun is out it is too hot to stay in the tent and when it rains the water comes through the tent because the material has been weakened by the sun. We’ve lost everything, everything’s buried under the rubble. We have nothing to do – all we can do is sit around and wait. When we first came to the camp they used to distribute things – now they’ve stopped that too.

We started a women’s organisation in the camp and started literacy classes for women. After that, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) gave us training on how to combat violence against women. There was a lot of violence against women in the camp but once we started to spread the training the violence decreased. We train women and girls to recognise the different types of violence: physical, sexual and emotional violence. We also do some cultural activities and educate them on AIDS and cholera.

We teach them about their rights, even if they get beaten a lot they need to stand up for their rights. Their husbands are not their bosses and they need to understand that. We have theatrical pieces, we have men in the audience and this teaches them what not to do. All the plays are performed by women, even the men’s roles, that’s how we educate the men.

We’re all here in the camp, because we have nowhere to go. If we had somewhere to go we would have left a long time ago. Most of us were just renting our homes. If we had our own land we would have camped there. Even though we’re suffering at the moment I believe that things will change. We won’t be living in tents forever. I think one day the government will take responsibility for us and give us what we need. The government hasn't reached us, I hear other camps have been cleared, I'm waiting for them. If they gave me money, where will I go? After one year, the money will run out and I'll still be jobless. It's not just me, it's all of us who need to put our heads together to decide what to do. Give us somewhere to live. That will be more useful to us. Once they give us the money they will forget about us.