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Haiti has reported 2333 active cases of COVID-19 and 245 related deaths as of 4 February 2021, although health care workers warn that the true numbers could be much higher. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has set Haiti’s COVID-19 status at Level 4, indicating a “very high” instance of infection. Clinics and hospitals were strained even before the pandemic, as many Haitians need care for chronic health problems such as malnourishment, diabetes and hypertension. Schools are open and no curfew is in place, but the government has called for people to wear face masks in public areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.

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COVID-19 in Haiti

How is Compassion currently operating in Haiti?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    All Compassion child development centres in Haiti have reopened and resumed normal program activities.

    Staff members carefully clean and sanitise the centres, and many centres with limited classroom space have children attending in shifts so they can maintain proper social distancing. They are following strict protocols to keep children and youths safe from the coronavirus.

    Partner church workers have been able to deliver well over 162,000 food packs and 92,000 hygiene kits and have provided medical assistance to nearly 12,800 people.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Haiti, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your sponsored child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Haiti. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to caregivers, where appropriate. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Haiti who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • God's healing over a young boy who is suffering from a disease.
  • God's wisdom and guidance for local Compassion staff as they serve and support the churches in Port-Margot.
  • God's protection and peace for the children, families and staff of HA0355.
  • God's healing over Isi and her family.
  • Pray that God will give frontline workers all the love, understanding, patience and resources they need to care for and support the children and families in their communities.
Facing homelessness during a pandemic in Haiti

Facing homelessness during a pandemic in Haiti

For sisters Denise, 21, and Rosandie, 18, a pandemic in their community of Canaan meant they would be facing even more housing difficulties in an already weak infrastructure. Both were living with their older sister, Anita, but financial pressure set in and they were unable to afford rent. The sisters thought they only had one option left.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, many centres have limited classroom space and have children attending in shifts so they can maintain proper social distancing.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Haiti

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 5 visit the Compassion centre for one hour every weekday and three hours on Saturdays.
  • Children aged 6 and older attend the centre for two to four hours after school each day and for four hours on Saturdays.
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Compassion Program Activities in Haiti

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Compassion assisted children in Haiti typically attend program activities at their local child development centre before or after school. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Haiti.

8:00am - A time of prayer and devotion and breakfast. A typical breakfast usually consists of eggs, bread or buns and tea.

9:00am - Spiritual lessons, in which children sing songs and learn Bible stories. Children aged three to five are given an illustrated Bible with simple stories. Children aged six to eight receive an illustrated Bible with longer stories. Children aged nine to 14 are given a complete Bible. Students over the age of 15 receive a study Bible.

10:30am - Break time, when children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

11:00am - Social-emotional lessons ranging from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

12:00pm - Lunch and social time. Children often receive sandwiches, juice or milk, or a hot meal of spaghetti or rice, beans, vegetables and meat. There is a special nutritional program for malnourished children.

1:00pm - Health lessons, in which children learn practical health and hygiene lessons, including how to prevent malaria and HIV.

2:00pm - Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

Children are also invited to attend spiritual retreats during Carnival and Easter. Older students can choose vocational training classes, including painting, crafts, sewing, computer, music, photography, videography, cooking and foreign language classes. Parents and caregivers are offered income generation activities and parenting seminars each week.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Haiti

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 government is facing not only the COVID-19 crisis but an energy crisis caused by a choked supply of diesel imports and a lack of a long-term energy strategy. While blackouts and grid disruptions are not new to Haiti, the timing means that hospitals battling COVID-19 are relying on buckets of water in the hallways and can’t use their generators for electricity.

This instability comes against a backdrop of historical destruction caused by earthquakes, floods and cyclones that regularly sweep 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 Matthew 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 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.

Many of the nation’s children live on the streets, forced into prostitution, begging and crime to survive.

Yet the Church is rising again and again in response, meeting children’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs—providing them and their families with the immediate and long-term support they need to get back to their feet.

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Stories from Compassion around the world

05 Aug, 2015

3 Children Share Why They Love Receiving Letters

Supakan’s home has only one piece of furniture: a cupboard made from cardboard and glass. It’s where her family keeps their favourite, most precious belongings—like Supakan’s letters from her sponsor. Why are letters so valuable to sponsored children? We asked three children from around the world to share why their sponsor’s letters mean so much... Read more

12 Apr, 2018

What Possessions Do Children Living in Poverty Treasure Most?

From remote, isolated tribal communities to bustling cities and crowded slums, 10 children in our Child Sponsorship Program share their treasured possessions. These are their beautiful, surprising and funny answers... Read more

29 May, 2020

How Will COVID-19 Affect the Developing World's Economy?

The COVID-19 pandemic will have a major impact on those living in poverty, likely for years to come. Learn how... Read more