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Carinne from Haiti

When a woman rises, the world changes

Since 1994, Carinne has owned a small but profitable clothing business, buying used clothes and then selling them in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This business came to a halt when the devastating earthquake hit in 2010. In an instant, her life changed. She lost everything, and one of her sons was seriously injured. Seeking medical care, she had to travel across the border to the Dominican Republic. When Carinne and her family returned home to Haiti, Carinne was able to quickly adapt to her new environment, which motivated her husband and two sons to do the same. The eldest was able to complete his law studies and the youngest is in 8th grade – great accomplishments that can largely be attributed to Carinne’s ability to nurture her family even during the toughest of times. “I dream of seeing them in high-level positions in the country,” she says.

Thanks to a micro-loan she received through Fonkoze’s Solidarity program, Carinne was able to restart her clothing business in 2015. Her tenacity, leadership skills, and management style also earned her the peer-elected position of Center Chief among other Fonkoze lending clients in her Solidarity Center.

When given the opportunity to join Fonkoze’s social enterprise health program Boutik Sante, a WE-funded program, Carinne did not hesitate. Selling over-the-counter health products and providing health services such as malnutrition screenings to her community brings her joy. “Assisting the people of the village is second nature to me,” she explains. Carinne operates her boutik sante (community health store) from her home, which allows her the flexibility to run her clothing business on the side and earn extra income.

Since receiving her first loan from Fonkoze, things have progressively gotten better for Carinne and her family, and she is proud of her accomplishments. She is now trying to help the women in her community start their own businesses so that they, too, can have an opportunity to prosper with dignity.

In 2021 alone, 207 CHEs were trained to open a boutik sante. All across the country, new and continuing CHEs provided improved access to health services and education for 250,000 households in rural communities. Just like Carrine, they are increasing their personal revenue, while giving back to their community, and Carrine continues to amplify that across her region, leading other women to do the same.