"No matter how we struggle I have a belief that I can make it. My goal four years ago was to finish school, have a big house, a single house. You hope, but I graduated school and I still can’t make it yet. But not because I lost my confidence or my hope. I’m sturdy, I’m fighting but sometimes you go through the system and it doesn’t matter about your education, what you’re doing-- you can still feel failed by the system and the way they’re supposed to help you. They’re not helping you that way."
When Emiliane joined Witnesses to Hunger in 2008, she was thirty-seven and the mother of four children. She was born in Haiti, moved to the United States in 1993 and is now a citizen. Emi has gone to college and continues to study in the medical field—most recently she was working towards certification as a respiratory specialist. Despite her extensive training, Emi only makes $14/hour and must work 60-80 hours a week to make ends meet while her husband spends most days looking after the children, fulfilling his duties as pastor of a nearby church, and looking for a full-time job.
Emi and her husband own their small, three-bedroom house but they struggle to make their mortgage payments each month and can’t afford to make badly needed repairs. Emi’s family receives a small amount of food stamps to supplement her income, and the youngest children get WIC, but sometimes this support is not enough to keep the family well-fed. Emi is committed to working hard to improve her family situation to the point that she often goes with only a few hours of sleep each night because she does so much overtime, but despite her struggles she has yet to achieve financial stability.