Latest update

Cases of COVID-19 are decreasing in Haiti. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has seen over 12,800 cases and suffered 251 related deaths. The true numbers could be much higher, however, because the diagnostic test is too expensive for most people.

More than the pandemic, Haitians are troubled by the dangers of political protests, gang violence and the rampant surge of kidnappings that have disrupted daily life, particularly in cities. Humanitarian aid is needed by approximately 4.4 million people, nearly a third of the population. Child trafficking for labor and sexual exploitation has increased in border areas as the pandemic has further boosted the poverty rate. Tragically, parents are sometimes deceived into giving their children to those who say they will provide them with a better life. 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 162,600 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:

  • Pray that God would encourage and bless the young adults in HA0804 as they prepare to attend university.
  • Pray for wisdom for the HA0804’s pastor and staff as they begin building a cafeteria to help provide nourishment to the children.
  • Pray that God would protect and keep the children and their families healthy and safe from harm.
  • Pray for wisdom and guidance to the National Office leadership team as they make decisions to make a life-changing impact and bring hope to children and their families through their local church.
  • Pray that God will give local staff 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

Crisis Reports from Haiti

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    Unrest and Violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Crisis Update) 29 May, 2021

    The situation

    During the last week of March there were violent confrontations between armed groups in the neighborhoods of Bel-Air and Galette Greffin, causing fires that damaged many homes. Many families in the affected areas temporarily relocated to stay with friends or relatives to flee the violence. Local staff provided assistance through the provision of relief items, as needed, as well as offering post-trauma counselling and spiritual support.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 167

    New information

    The situation remains challenging. The local church partners are still running centre activities, however many of the children are unable to attend as they have relocated to escape the community instability and violence. Our staff are keeping in contact with these families and offering support via phone and internet wherever possible. Should the children be unable to return to their homes safely, staff are assessing the possibility of transferring them to other nearby centres instead.

    Prayer

    Please continue praying for the safety and protection of children, families and church partners living near the violence. Please pray for a peaceful end to the unrest.

  • update icon

    Unrest and Violence in Port-au-Prince, Haiti 29 Apr, 2021

    The situation

    During the last week of March there were violent confrontations between armed groups in the neighborhoods of Bel-Air and Galette Greffin, causing fires that damaged many homes. Most families in these areas have temporarily relocated to flee the violence and are staying with friends or relatives for the time being.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 167

    New information

    Local staff are working to provide affected children and their families with basic supplies such as food, water and medicine. The centre activities have resumed, though many children are unable to attend due to their families having temporarily relocated. Local staff are doing everything they can to stay in touch with these children and families, and are offering post-trauma counselling to those who need it.

    Prayer

    Please pray for the safety and protection of children, families and church partners living near the violence. Please pray for a peaceful end to the unrest.

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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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