Five Years of Engaging Youth in Haiti
This month Haiti will mark the five year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck the country on January 12, 2010. The earthquake killed over 230,000 people, injured 300,000 and displaced 1.5 million. Economic losses are estimated at US$7.9 billion, with reconstruction needs estimated at US$11.3 billion.
In November 2010, YouthBuild International and the Haitian NGO, IDEJEN, launched the JÈNKA program with the 5-year goal of engaging 9,000 Haitian young people to help rebuild Haiti after the earthquake. JÈNKA—a creole acronym for “Young People Building Haiti”— mobilizes the leadership of out-of-school and unemployed Haitian youth in earthquake response and rebuilding efforts while at the same time advancing their education and livelihood skills.
JÈNKA students helped to construct and rehabilitate 12 IDEJEN vocational training centers which host the JÈNKA program and are located in rural and urban locations throughout Haiti.
To date, the total investment in JÈNKA is more than $11 million with technical and resource support coming from the Inter-American Development Bank, The MasterCard Foundation, Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, US Agency for International Development, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Intel Foundation, Digicel, Diageo, The Players Trust of Major League Baseball, the Haiti Fund/The Boston Foundation and Stop Hunger Now.
Haiti’s future rests with its young people who are eager to improve their lives, families, and communities while they continue to recover from the tragedy of the earthquake.