Rising Above the Rubble to Realize Her Dream
Didine was just 14 years old when a powerful earthquake shook Haiti in 2010.
Although the earthquake only lasted for 35 seconds, Didine felt as though the world was collapsing in all around her, taking with it her dream of becoming a violinist.
No other event could compare to that fateful day. Didine marked it as an important turning point in her life.
“I saw my life scroll before me,” she said.
Although their home was lost, Didine and her family were able to escape unharmed. However, memories of people covered in dust, screaming, and running through the streets of Jacmel continue to haunt her.
On the Road to Recovery
In the days following the Haiti earthquake, Plan worked to provide children with safe and stable environments where they could learn, play, receive psychological support, and regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. These environments are known within the Plan community as a Child-Friendly Space (CFS).
In each CFS, Plan trained local volunteers, such as students, youth workers, nurses, and teachers.
While these volunteers are not counselors, they work closely with Plan’s partners to identify children who may be in need of professional support. These children are then referred to specialist organizations that have the necessary training to help them recover. Amid all of the chaos that followed the earthquake, Plan’s Child-Friendly Spaces were considered a refuge. This idea prompted Didine to join.
"Initially, I went there more to pass the time than anything else,” she confessed.
During her time at the CFS, Didine was able to find joy in games, drawing, painting, theater, and to her great delight, music!
"At the start of the activities, some of the children remained virtually silent,” reflects CFS psychologist Andrieu Pierre. When she first arrived at the CFS, Didine had been one of these children.
"We believed that music could play an important role in the stabilization of their minds," said Vilmann Pierre Vil, who had been responsible for engaging the children and teenagers.
As a result of this idea, Plan established a partnership with Dessaix Baptiste, a school of music, to provide the children with music lessons. "The music theory class was new and even seemed strange to the majority of the children," Jacques Civil remembered. Jacques had been a teacher and musician prior to his volunteer work within the CFS.
"We had understood that the main objective was to allow the children to express themselves using music,” said Civil, “but we also wanted to help them use this harmonious language to improve themselves."
Realizing Her Dream
"I now know what is a scale, the role of a key, the value of the notes," declared Didine, visibly pleased and proud. She had been taking violin lessons for six months and was closer to having her dream come true.
"Before the earthquake, one of my goals was to be able to play violin in front of a large audience which would be glad to listen to my music,” she said.
In June of last year, Didine’s dream finally came into fruition when she had her first public performance at a music camp that had been organized by Dessaix Baptiste.
"I'm very proud of myself. And it's nice to express myself and realize my dream,” she said with a confident smile.