No Stranger to Crisis or Need

Haiti is no stranger to crisis, and Haiti’s children are no stranger to need. From the devastating 2010 earthquake and the cholera outbreak that followed, to the death and destruction Hurricane Matthew brought to Haiti in 2016, the country and the children of Haiti have suffered greatly because of natural disasters and poverty. Even some of the people sent to help the country in its times of need have abused the nation.

Between 2004 and 2017, sexual exploitation of women and girls by United Nations peacekeepers resulted in 265 Haitian babies being raised without fathers or support.

Decades of government corruption, political instability and ineffectiveness, poor infrastructure and social support systems, and a debilitated economy make the tiny Caribbean nation on the island of Hispaniola the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest countries in the world.

Natural disasters, including epidemics and pandemics, disproportionally affect the poor and create many Haitian orphans and packed orphanages. According to UNICEF, few countries are more vulnerable and less able to cope with disasters and crises. “Haiti is the fifth most vulnerable country in the world — and third least able to cope.”

With COVID-19 setting back poverty reduction efforts worldwide and contributing to significant economic losses, the future for Haiti’s children looks as bleak as the past has been.

According to the World Bank Human Capital Index, Haitian children born today will grow up to be only 45% as productive as they could be if poverty didn’t rob them of education, health, income and opportunity.

Helping Haiti’s Children

Education

Education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty for Haitian children. It gives children better opportunities to earn a livable wage and care for their own families when they are adults. Without an education, it is nearly impossible for children living in Haiti to improve their situation.

Haiti is in the bottom 6% of the world for amount spent on educating its children.1

Most schools in Haiti are privately run, and many poor parents cannot afford the costs and fees for tuition, uniforms and books.

According to Schools for Haiti, about 57% of primary school-aged children are enrolled in school and only 20% will graduate from sixth grade. These children are likely to end up working in unskilled jobs and earning very little, just like previous generations.

Our Educational Needs fund helps children stay in school and learn the necessary skills to provide for themselves and their families while contributing positively to their communities. Donations to support the educational needs of children in Haiti, and in the other countries where we work, help families pay tuition fees so their children can attend school.

Families may also receive textbooks, uniforms and fees for labs, and the children may receive tutoring and mentoring support, as well as vocational training.

Health

Poverty strips Haitian children of so many things. Malnutrition, improper sanitation, violence and exploitation, and inaccessible and deficient health care all combine to stunt a Haitian child’s early development and hinder the ability of Haitian children to grow into healthy, fulfilled adults.

Clean, safe drinking water, proper nutrition and hygiene practices, and access to quality health care — each of these things needs to be present and needs to be addressed for a child to develop in healthy manner. But for children living in Haiti, they’re often absent.

Twenty Percent of Haitian children lack adequate nutrition and up to 40% have no access to clean water.2

Our initiatives to meet the critical needs of the children registered in our Child Sponsorship Program provide healthful meals, clean water, better sanitation facilities, health and hygiene training, disaster relief and medical assistance for children and their families, including medical checkups, emergency care, lifesaving surgeries, vaccinations, and oral and vision care.

Exploitation, Trafficking and the Restavèk Curse

Most of Haiti’s trafficking cases involve restavèk children, and the Haitian government has done little to protect its children from these crimes.3

Restavèk is a Creole word for a Haitian child who stays with and works for another family, often because the child’s family sold or gave the child away in order to survive. Frequently, the restavèk’s most basic rights to food, health and education are denied. The children are forced to work long hours under harsh conditions and are often mistreated and abused, including sexually. There are hundreds of thousands of restavèk children in Haiti.

Our Child Sponsorship Program helps fight the restavèk problem by expanding the circle of caring adults actively participating in the lives of Haitian children.

The child development center workers and church leaders running the sponsorship program activities invest in the children personally, as friends and mentors. They know when a child is exploited, traumatized, abused or victimized, and they act immediately to help with legal resources, medical care, counseling and safe shelter.

Sponsor a Haitian Child Today!

According to the World Bank, more than 2.5 million Haitians survive on little more than $1 a day and another 4 million live on approximately $2.50 a day. This income inequality has marked Haiti for decades. In fact, we’ve been working to improve the lives of children in Haiti for more than 50 years.

Join us today! Sponsor a child in Haiti or make a donation to help provide a better life for children living in Haiti.

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Questions?

Please call us at (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT to speak with a Compassion Representative.

CHAT

Sources:

  1. Country Comparison: Education Expenditures, The World Factbook, 1 Feb. 2018, cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/369rank.html.
  2. USAID, Haiti: Nutrition Profile, February 2018.
  3. U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, 2020 Trafficking in Persons Report: Haiti, www.state.gov/reports/2020-trafficking-in-persons-report/haiti/