On September 10, 2019, Hurricane Dorian swept through The Bahamas with such brutality that it gained the distinction of being the most powerful hurricane ever to hit the country since record-keeping began.
For three days, Hurricane Dorian ravaged the small Caribbean nation, leaving thousands of homes destroyed, many without shelter and countless families in need.
For many vulnerable documented and undocumented migrants (many of whom are Haitian) living in The Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian’s impact meant they lost critical documents needed to apply for Bahamian citizenship. Most people didn’t know how to obtain new records, or couldn’t afford them at all.
To help assist vulnerable migrants, PWS&D supported a program to help with redocumentation in 2020. Along with redocumentation, the program also provided inclusive communications to ensure that Haitian migrants received important messages in their native languages and screened and supported those who might be in danger of deportation to ensure their rights were upheld.
A team of three women within the Haitian migrant community reviewed applications for assistance and selected participants based on their needs and vulnerabilities. As a result, the program helped dozens of people get 366 different documents, including birth certificates, marriage certificates and school diplomas.
Shana, a project staff person, recalls her experience, “One of the cases that impacted me the most was a young girl, aged 17, who lost her father and home in the island of Abaco. She had to relocate with her three siblings to Nassau. Her mother would call me every day and would say in Creole (she didn’t speak any English), ‘Thank you! Thank you!’ Three of the children were supported by the project and applied for citizenship,” Shana recollects.
Because of your generosity, many of the families received support to access new documents, which meant they had one less thing to worry about as they faced a long road to recovery.
*Program implementation of PWS&D’s Hurricane Dorian response was scheduled to begin in March 2020. However, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic meant the response did not begin until July 2020 and concluded in February 2021.