Distributing Shoes in Haiti

Thirteen-year-old Laurette lost her parents in last year’s earthquake. She is one of many girls living in danger in Haiti’s displacement camps. But a few months ago, she found a new home at the community center run by KOFAVIV, MADRE’s Haitian sister organization. There, she met other girls her age, forming friendships and participating in group counseling sessions.

Then, one day, Laurette stopped showing up. The women of KOFAVIV worried about her and found her in one of the camps. When asked why she had stopped coming, she told them that she had worn through her last pair of shoes.

Shoes can change the lives of young women and girls like Laurette. Without shoes, survivors of rape can’t walk to the KOFAVIV Women’s Center to access the support, therapy and other services they need. Without shoes, women and girls are also exposed to soil-transmitted diseases and dangerous infections.

Recently, MADRE launched a new campaign called Shoes for Haiti. The campaign seeks to provide shoes for young women and girls living in Haiti’s displacement camps.

Last week, MADRE Executive Director Yifat Susskind and I got the chance to hand out hundreds of donated shoes, donated from MADRE members and supporters, to the young women and girls at the KOFAVIV center. It was a remarkable experience. The joy was palpable, and it was so gratifying to see how one simple donation could make such a difference in the safety, security and well-being of the young women and girls living in Haiti’s displacement camps.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank you, MADRE supporters, for making this work possible. Without your donations to this campaign, many young women and girls would still be without the shoes necessary to seek support, stay protected from disease and have the freedom of mobility. Thank you!

To learn more about the Shoes for Haiti campaign, click here.

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