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Fonkoze in the Wake of the 2010 Earthquake

On January 12, 2010 – Fonkoze’s entire leadership team gathered in the Central Office in Port-au-Prince to go over the plans for the year. An important topic of discussion was how Fonkoze might find a way to protect clients from the inevitable natural disasters that come their way. Coincidentally, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake (Tranbleman tè in Haitian Creole) would strike Haiti later that same day, at 4:53 p.m.

 

It is estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 people tragically died that day – including five of Fonkoze’s beloved staff members and their loved ones. The earthquake also severely compromised the country’s financial infrastructure, limiting people’s access to much-needed funds. Remittances from friends and family abroad – upon which Haitians rely on in good and bad times – were not being distributed. Fonkoze was quick to respond to this critical need.

Pictured Above: Founding Executive Director of Fonkoze USA, Leigh Carter, who fell from the second floor of Fonkoze's building into rubble - breaking her back and incurring internal injuries.

 

Our solid organizational structure, paired with our staff’s dedication to our clients, enabled Fonkoze to reopen 34 of its branches almost immediately. Despite buildings being damaged beyond repair, Fonkoze’s team found a way to make it work. Setting up stations in courtyards, the staff utilized satellite phones and diesel generators to restart operations. Within the first week of reopening, Fonkoze delivered more than $1 million in remittances and savings to Haitians in need.

 

In the weeks and months that followed, that number increased to multi-millions. To bring liquidity to Fonkoze in Haiti and additional cash into the country, Fonkoze USA conducted an unprecedented cash drop in collaboration with the UN and the US military. On January 23, helicopters delivered $2 million from Fonkoze’s account at the City National Bank of New Jersey – disguised in boxes for security purposes – to ten branch locations across Haiti. By January 26 – just two weeks after the earthquake – 39 of our 41 branches were back in operation. But our clients (19,000 at the time) were still struggling, having lost their homes and small businesses. And almost half of Fonkoze’s staff had damaged homes or no homes at all.

Fonkoze responded by creating an innovative program called Kore Fanmi Fonkoze (Program to Reinforce the Fonkoze Family). Designed with the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI), which has helped to monitor clients’ progress and inform Fonkoze's decisions about its programs since 2006, Kore Fanmi Fonkoze was a comprehensive and innovative disaster relief and livelihoods recovery program. It provided all clients affected by the earthquake with a one-time cash grant for emergency needs, canceled their former loan balance, and provided those deemed ready with a new micro-loan to restart their businesses. Fonkoze also rolled out an education curriculum on disaster preparedness and risk reduction strategies. Including its staff, clients and their families, Fonkoze empowered more than 89,000 people to start rebuilding their lives in the wake of this tragedy.

 

The entire Fonkoze family extends its sincere gratitude to all our donors who, in solidarity, supported our recovery efforts.

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Fonkoze USA
1718 Connecticut Ave NW, #201

Washington, DC 20009

Copyright © 2020 Fonkoze USA.  All Rights Reserved.

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STAY CONNECTED TO FONKOZE

Fonkoze USA
1718 Connecticut Ave NW, #201

Washington, DC 20009

Copyright © 2020 Fonkoze USA.  All Rights Reserved.

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Copyright © 2020 Fonkoze USA.  All Rights Reserved.

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Fonkoze USA
1718 Connecticut Ave NW, #201

Washington, DC 20009

Copyright © 2020 Fonkoze USA.  All Rights Reserved.