The Republic of Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Hispaniola is the second-largest island in the Caribbean, sitting in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October.
Haiti is currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with around 80 percent of the population living below the poverty line.
A combination of poor rains and tropical storms have impacted food production in Haiti. According to the National Coordination for Food Security, the food production in several regions were as low as 35 percent during the last quarter of 2013. Chronic malnutrition is a major problem, affecting 24 percent of children younger than 5.
Child protection continues to be an ongoing concern because many children are still being physically abused or forced to work in slave-like conditions.
The January 2010 earthquake leveled most of the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, killing around 220,000 Haitians and leaving millions homeless.
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Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2014.
Children and youth participated in biblical reflections, discipleship programs, and spiritual nurture activities, helping them to know God's love and empowering them to become agents of transformation in their communities.
We helped children, community members, and local partners reflect upon and understand their rights, roles, and responsibilities as citizens so they can take action to improve their communities.
We organized youth groups, children's clubs, and associations to encourage children's participation in their communities and give them opportunities to develop their decision-making skills.
Through our tuition assistance program, children received grants to partially subsidize their school fees so they can continue their schooling.
To help children develop skills for life, we facilitated courses in art, sports, communications, technology, math, and writing.
Families were able to boost production of crops and livestock and improve their incomes through our agricultural training programs.
To improve children's health and nutritional status, we partnered with the Ministry of Health to provide Vitamin A supplements to prevent blindness and disease, vaccinations, and iron supplements, and to help malnourished children recover.
Awareness campaigns were carried out to promote the prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases and to reduce discrimination against people affected by HIV and AIDS.
World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Haiti to rebuild their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 26,900 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Haiti. Highlights include:
World Vision began working in Haiti in 1959 through the sponsorship of 27 children at the Ebenezer Orphanage in Port-au-Prince, providing food, education, and the good news of Jesus Christ. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:
Geography and people
The Republic of Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Hispaniola is the second-largest island in the Caribbean, sitting in the middle of the hurricane belt and subject to severe storms from June to October. The original inhabitants of the area, the Taíno, named the island Ayiti, which means “land of high mountains.”
Natural resources include copper, calcium carbonate, gold, marble, and hydropower.
Most Haitians are descendents of West African slaves, with the rest of the population having a mix of European and African ancestry. French and Creole are the country’s two official languages, although the majority of Haitians speak Creole. English is often used in the business sector.
The Creole culture is a distinctive fusion of African, French, and West Indian elements. Haitians are particularly proud of their art, which has drawn international interest for its vitality and vivid colors.
In Haiti, children often marry at an early age. Because girls may marry as young as age 15, a sponsored child’s mother may be quite young.
Claimed for Spain by Columbus in 1492, Haiti became a Spanish and then French colony. A successful slave revolt in 1804 made Haiti the first black republic to declare independence. Haiti’s freedom from France, however, cost the nation millions of francs—a debt that sank the nation deep into poverty.
Violence and political instability marked much of the 1800s until Haiti declared bankruptcy in 1914. The U.S. Marines occupied the country in an effort to bring economic and democratic consistency to the country for the next 20 years. After experiencing a 30-year dictatorship and a series of troubled presidencies, Haitians elected René Préval as president in 2006.
In August and September 2008, a series of four powerful storms ripped through the country, affecting nearly 800,000 people. Then in January 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated the capital city of Port-au-Prince, killing over 220,000 people and affecting an estimated 3 million people. In 2010, Haitians were also affected by a hurricane, a cholera outbreak, and disputed presidential elections.