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Snapshot of Haiti

54%

of people live below the poverty line

72%

of people lack access to proper sanitation

51%

of people can’t read and write

Haiti rose up against French colonial control in the early 19th century to become the first independent Caribbean state. But it has struggled with dictators, coups and corruption ever since. The current political situation is dire, with President Jovenel Moise scrambling to find another Prime Minister after Henry Ceant was fired in controversial circumstances.

The government is facing its biggest economic crisis since the 2008. Inflation is rampant and many citizens are fed up with perceived corruption and inaction. Their protests have been widespread and occasionally violent.

Added to this instability is the historical destruction caused by earthquakes, floods and cyclones that have swept the nation. Haiti’s infrastructure is unable to cope with devastating events like the Port-a-Prince earthquake in 2010—and the subsequent cholera epidemic that killed more than 7000 people—and Hurricane Mathew in 2016. Thousands have lost their lives and millions more have had their homes and livelihoods destroyed.

These regular events make it very difficult for the nation to build the infrastructure it needs—hospitals, roads, schools and so on—to bring its people out of poverty.

Over half the population lives in abject poverty, with 40 per cent unemployed. Almost one-quarter of infants have low birth weight, and most people living in rural areas lack access to basic needs such as clean water and sanitation facilities.

Haiti is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Many of Haiti’s trafficking cases involve children recruited to live with families in other towns in the hope of going to school, but instead become domestic servants known as ‘restaveks’. Restaveks are made to work without pay, isolated from other children in the household, and seldom sent to school. Vulnerable to abuse, former restaveks make up a large proportion of Haiti’s street children, who are forced into prostitution, begging and street crime.

Guilbaud Saint Cyr

Letter from Compassion Haiti Director, Guilbaud Saint-Cyr

Dear Sponsor, My name is Guilbaud Saint-Cyr, and I have been serving as the Compassion Haiti Country Director for 14 years now. The ministry of Compassion began in Haiti in 1968. The Lord has currently blessed us with more than 108,000 registered children in partnership with about 300 local churches. We feel so grateful for the enthusiastic and generous contribution you have provided to your sponsored child!

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Safe water in Sarazin

Located in the Central Plateau region of Haiti, Sarazin is a poor neighbourhood with a population of about 24,000. People depend on agriculture to make a living and pay for their children’s school fees. But Sarazin struggled with one particular problem above the others—the lack of safe drinking water. And the community isn’t alone: around 42 per cent of Haitians don’t have a safe source of drinking water.

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Prayer requests for Haiti

  • Please pray for all of the children and their families who have been affected by the recent protests and rising costs of essential items. Please pray especially for the people in Grand Bois, who are in desperate need of safe drinking water. Pray they will receive the emergency aid they need.
  • Pray for Rosselange and Berly, two Compassion assisted children, whose father recently died. Please pray for the family as they grieve; pray God will be near them and bring them comfort and strength. Pray that God will show them a way forward for their family in His time.
  • Please pray for the family of one sponsored child in Port-au-Prince whose mother recently had both legs amputated below the knee, due to diabetes. Please pray for the mother to recover from surgery and find hope in a distressing time; pray for the family to be able to continue to meet their needs and support her well. Pray also for the local church as it uplifts her practically, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Please pray for all of the Compassion Haiti staff, particularly the partnership facilitators who have recently participated in child protection training. Pray that God will give them wisdom and discernment as they train local child development centre tutors and staff, and protect more than 117,000 Compassion assisted children from abuse.
  • Pray for Ricot and Wadler, two Compassion Haiti staff who have both recently lost an uncle; pray for their families as they grieve their loss. Pray they will receive good support from the team and that God will be their ever-present comfort.
  • Pray for Haiti’s leadership and political direction. Pray that the Holy Spirit will bring peace and that the nation will find a way forward. Pray for protection and strength, particularly for the most vulnerable children and their families who are living in poverty.