Haitian woman proves miracles do happen
Growing up as one of nine children on a small rural farm, no one would have expected a young Haitian girl to do more than stay home and help with household chores. That’s what girls did. But not Marie Dumay Miracles. Marie lived up to her name and showed miracles can happen. Today, she is a civil engineer and deputy mayor of her hometown, actively involved in coordinating Haiti’s earthquake relief efforts.
When she was little, Marie’s parents eked out a living in a vast and badly eroded farming valley, north of Port-au-Prince. “Children faced many obstacles to go to school,” says Marie. “Girls in particular.”
But when Plan arrived in the community, installing irrigation systems and setting up farming and education programs, Marie and her siblings leapt at the new opportunities.
“With Plan's help, the family had the chance to send everyone to school. All nine of us finished,” Marie says proudly.
Marie’s future changed from that first day at school. Working hard at her studies, she excelled in school and became determined to go on to further education.
Marie’s parents had received training from Plan to become more productive farmers - their only source of income - but there was still no way they could afford to pay for their daughter’s university studies. “My parents were hard working,” she says, “But they still could not afford it.”
That wasn’t going to stop Marie. Learning of Plan’s further education programs, she immediately applied for support to take a one-year course in computer science, followed by a university degree. The Haitian farmers’ daughter ended up as a qualified engineer.
“Today I specialize in building roads and large buildings,” explains Marie. “This is a very valuable skill, especially right now.”
As if that isn’t enough to keep Marie busy, she decided to put her leadership skills to work in the community, and successfully took on the role of deputy mayor of her town, Croix-des-Bouquets. This position effectively makes Marie second in command of the town, and she is actively involved in coordinating local earthquake recovery efforts.
Looking into the future, Marie doesn’t see herself stepping down any time soon. There is still so much to be done, and Marie’s special combination of leadership and engineering skills put her in a unique position to help rebuild the community.
When Marie’s term as deputy mayor runs out in three months, she is getting set to run for mayor. “The current mayor is retiring, so he had no worries,” grins Marie.