At 7-years-old, Mathieu is a happy young boy, described as very adaptive and intelligent by ESPWA social workers. Mathieu’s charisma and charm make him a friend to all – not to mention his amazing dancing skills!
Like many single parents, Mathieu’s mother brought him to ESPWA in search of help. Having separated from Mathieu’s father, she supports their home with her meager earnings selling sandals in town.
She lived in a shelter constructed from weavings of straw, a structure ESPWA social workers claimed “could hardly be called a house.” Without a toilet or a kitchen, everything was done on the dirt floor in the open air. Despite the existence of electric cable infrastructure in the community, service from the national company is so unpredictable and scarce that she lit her home with incandescent lamps.
“Abandoned to their fate, poor and vulnerable families – the majority in society – are housed in conditions that endanger their lives and health.” -Wijems Sainval, Espwa Social Worker
The area surrounding ESPWA, known as Madame Combe, is a poor rural zone just outside of Les Cayes. While the area has access to irrigation and water, access to stable electricity is meager and many families are living well below the poverty line in homes similar to Mathieu's family.
ESPWA constructed a new home for Mathieu and his family, where he has since been reunited with his mother and younger sister.
The well being and strength of a family is greatly impacted by the state of its physical environment. Having a safe, secure home for her children gives Matheiu’s mother the ability to give her children safety, dignity, and a place to call home.
Without the worry over the physical conditions of her living environment, she can now focus on accessing services provided through the Family Preservation program and building a better life for her children.