Odette Helps Her Community
In Odette Midy’s community near Lavale, Haiti, the nearest place to buy over-the-counter health products was more than an hour away. Rather than make the long journey by foot, Odette’s friends and neighbors would often let illnesses and wounds go untreated. Soon, people would get sicker and infections would take hold.
Today, through her community health store (Boutik Sante), Odette is trying to change this. Her participation in Fonkoze’s Boutik Sante Program – an innovative social enterprise that expands access to over-the-counter health products and services in rural Haiti – is enabling her to do just that.
The Program has helped Odette to expand her business and gain skills to serve as a valuable resource in her community. For example, Fonkoze’s registered nurses are training Odette and other Fonkoze clients to administer basic screening services (blood pressure, malnutrition, diabetes, and others) and to incorporate health-related products into their existing businesses. They thus become “Community Health Entrepreneurs.”
When asked about her motivation in life, she says, “I am not married, but I work hard for my eight-year-old daughter. I want to see her succeed in life.” Odette also says that Fonkoze is the one partner she can really “rely on.” She was able to build a home with profits from her small business, which she expanded with loans from Fonkoze.
Having been a Fonkoze client for ten years, she has gained the respect of the 55 other Fonkoze clients in her Credit Center, which they named Tèt Ansanm (Heads Together). They even elected her to be their “Center Chief” – the leader of the group.
Odette is pleased with the progress she is making, saying, “Everything is selling well. My Fonkoze friends are also my clients, and the people in my village are happy to buy from me.” Sometimes, she serves more than 30 clients in a day.