County charity helping new businesses to launch in Haiti

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Hundreds of women are being helped to start their own business by a town charity set up in memory of a UN worker who died in a devastating earthquake.

The Andrew Grene Foundation (AGF) opened a microfinance branch in Haiti which offers small loans for women who want to set up subsistence businesses.

More than 800 women are now enrolled in numeracy and literacy courses at the centre.

Client Rose Marie has used what she learned through the programme to achieve success as a small merchant selling beans in the local market.

She initially started with two goats and a pig, and now owns four goats and a horse and has even been able to build a tin roof for her home.

Rose said: “Before, when it used to rain, the house would fill with water. But now, when the rains fall at night, we lie in our beds and sing.”

Andrew Grene had been working in Haiti for three years before he lost his life in the earthquake on January 12, 2010. It claimed more than 230,000 lives and caused widespread devastation.

The AGF, based in Wellingborough, was set up soon after by his twin brother Gregory and childhood friend Tim Perutz, to help the Haitian people with education and microfinance.

Gregory said: “There is no real means of ‘coping’ with a loss like that of my twin brother. What we have done is to create something that can stand in its own place, to grow something beautiful in the honour of the beautiful person we lost.

“We hope to channel the memory of Andrew and love into a dream that Andrew would have shared, a dream of assisting the Haitian people to attain the kind of self-sufficiency and hope that they deserve.”