The earthquake in Haiti: Snapshots of one boy’s story

Erickson is a 15-year-old boy from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Before the earthquake, his dad didn’t have a job, so his mom, Kerline, supported him and his siblings by selling second-hand clothes.


Erickson and his sisters practice math on the side of their home before the earthquake.

Life was hard enough. Then the earthquake hit.

Erickson Jean-Francois holds hand of mother walking on debris

Erickson and his mom walk through the rubble near where their house once stood.

Their home was destroyed. The family that lived on the ground floor of their duplex was killed and Kerline’s mother was trapped under the rubble. Her neighbour dug her out, and the family wondered what they would do to survive.

But Erickson was part of Compassion’s program at the local church. Through our donors’ support, Erickson’s family got a tent as a transitional shelter where they lived for several months. The home was far from ideal, but it gave them shelter immediately after the quake.

Erickson Jean-Francois leans against thin tree branches outside

Erickson stands near the transitional shelter he received from Compassion. 

Then through Compassion’s Disaster Relief fund, Erickson’s family received materials to build a new home. Using wood and tin, Erickson’s parents built a home in a village not far from where their tent had been. They feel safe in their home and the roof doesn’t leak like in their old home.


Erickson and his parents stand in front of the home they built using the materials Compassion gave them. 

Erickson’s parents also attended training to start a small business. They developed a business plan and received the funds to start their own small business selling purified water.


Erickson fills a water jug at his family’s business they started through Haiti Disaster Relief funds. 

Now, five years after the earthquake, Erickson’s family sells water and other home supplies and earn more than they ever did before the earthquake. They no longer have to go hungry some days. Now Erickson can focus on his studies and his future.


“I would like to be a doctor,” he says, “because there are a lot of victims in Haiti, a lot of injured people. So I want to be a doctor to take care of them.”

Written by: Amber Van Schooneveld

Amber Van Schooneveld is the Managing Editor of Compassion International's blog.