Haiti girl’s dream to become senator

Displaced Haitians

The devastating earthquake which shook Haiti in January last year leaving one and a half million people homeless, may have wrecked many people’s lives, but not, it seems, in some cases their dreams. Shasha Liza, a 14-year-old girl living in one of the crowded camps for those made homeless in the capital Port-au-Prince, still holds on to her dream of continuing her education. She believes it will lift her family out of poverty and eventually help her become a senator capable of making positive changes in her country. Jocelyne Sambira reports.

SFX girl singing

NARR: Shasha Liza is a 14 year old Haitian girl living in the capital Port-au-Prince.

Shasha lives in a camp since her home was destroyed in last year’s earthquake. At the time, she was sharing a tent with a family of nine. She was anxious to get back to school.

Now, ten months later, she is still living in the same tent that she now shares with six relatives.

Her resolve to go to school is even stronger. Shasha says, she sees no other way to lift herself and her family out of poverty.

“What do I want to change in my life? I want to have the opportunity to continue my education so I can become something in life. I would really like to get my mother out of poverty. I don’t have a father. He died last year and I live with my mother so I really want to figure out how to get her out of poverty.”

The past six months have been particularly difficult, Shasha says, because the rainy season flooded the tent and left her with an infection that hospitalized her for three months as she battled a persistent cough.

Today, she has several hours of work ahead of her, preparing different foods that her mother will sell for the family’s only source of income. Shasha says she has become painfully aware of how much work is required for single mothers to raise their children.

“If I could talk to the world, I would say there are a lot of mothers in Haiti who are suffering. They are taking care of the kids themselves because the fathers are gone. I would ask for help for the mothers, especially in this camp. There are so many of them raising their children with no help from the fathers.”

Shasha dreams of becoming a senator, and changing Haiti’s government from the inside.

SFX washing

During the long days doing her chores, and preparing food, she allows herself to dream.

She also sees herself singing and dancing, and maybe becoming a movie star.

But then, reality sets in. Shasha still has to finish preparing dinner, and do her homework before night falls on the camp.

SFX liza singing

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 2’20″

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