MADRE provides shoes for young girls living in Haiti's displacement camps. Many of these girls lost their families and their homes in the earthquake. Each day, they must struggle to survive. MADRE's Haitian partner organization, KOFAVIV, runs a center where these girls can access the support and therapy that they urgently need. But, to get to this oasis of safety, these girls urgently need shoes to protect themselves from the rubble-strewn street and from dangerous soil-transmitted infections.
Since the 2010 earthquake, there have been epidemic levels of rape in Haiti's displacement camps. Many young girls who were orphaned by the earthquake are forced to engage in survival sex in exchange for basic needs like food. Our partner, KOFAVIV, provides support and services, but without shoes, the girls are unable to walk to the KOFAVIV Center to access the care they urgently need. Girls walking barefoot without shoes also develop cuts and sores and run the risk of dangerous infections.
Providing adolescent girls with shoes is the first step in allowing them to rebuild their lives. Shoes allow girls to walk to the KOFAVIV Center and access the services, counseling and medical care that they urgently need. KOFAVIV also offers a wide array of programs that teach girls valuable job skills, giving them an alternative to survival sex. When girls have the shoes they need to walk to the center, they also gain access to services that give them a chance to heal.
Rebuilding Haiti will take more than constructing houses. That's why MADRE's working with our partners to build safe communities. Newly orphaned girls are the most vulnerable. They face many dangers, including sexual violence and a lack of food and shelter. Plus, their circle of support has been destroyed. Providing shoes to these girls enables them to seek the services they need. It also puts girls on a path of healing and allows them to take steps towards becoming leaders in their communities.