Latest update

On the morning of August 14th, 2021, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Haiti. Reports from our staff on the ground indicated that close to 50 child development centres were destroyed or reported heavy damage. Those centres oversee more than 17,000 children. When a disaster strikes, our mission remains the same: to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Compassion has a long history of serving the children of Haiti and we're making every effort to support our affected church partners and the children in their care.

To view the latest update for the earthquake in Haiti, please visit our Crisis Reports page or continue reading below.

Gang violence in Haiti continues to escalate, exacerbated by the assassination of the President in July 2021. Some hospitals considered shutting down because the danger was too great. Kidnappings are rampant, with gangs becoming increasingly bold as the local police lack resources to respond.

Low COVID-19 testing rates in Haiti have made it difficult to know the full impacts of the pandemic. The nation's vaccination program began in July 2021 and local staff have mostly resumed working from their offices. Since the beginning of the pandemic, local workers have distributed over 230,000 food packs and 93,000 hygiene kits to vulnerable families.

Watch the video below from our local partners in Haiti to learn more.

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Country update

Crisis Reports from Haiti

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    Unrest and Violence in Martissant, Haiti (Final Crisis Update) 07 Dec, 2021

    The situation

    At the beginning of June, a series of violent confrontations between armed rival groups occurred in a densely populated area of Port-au-Prince known as Martissant. In recent months, violence and unrest has been disrupting daily life right across the city, with many families temporarily relocating to stay with friends or relatives. The whole country has felt the impact of the situation as there is a national road connecting the southern region of the country and Port-au-Prince which has been blocked.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 2 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 230

    New information

    Sadly, some local homes were damaged or destroyed and many lost their livelihood due to the violence. The impacted child development centres have since relocated to safer locations nearby and continue to facilitate full program implementation. Our local church partners were able to provide impacted children and their families with spiritual and emotional support, food kits and cash transfers to purchase needed relief items.

    Prayer

    Thank you for praying for the safety and protection of children, families and church partners living near the unrest. Please keep praying for peace and comfort for these families as well as wisdom for the staff, volunteers and pastors who continue supporting children during this time.

How is Compassion currently operating in Haiti?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Currently, many Compassion child development centres throughout the country have resumed normal on-site activities, but some centres may be affected by the August earthquake and widespread social unrest. For the local church partners that are unaffected by the earthquake, staff members carefully clean and sanitise the centres and have children attending in shifts so they can maintain proper social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    Many local church partners are working closely with students who are preparing for their final evaluations and staff are offering tutoring to those struggling from a difficult, disrupted school year.

  • 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 for children who have been impacted by the recent earthquake; that they will be protected and comforted. Pray that they can quickly resume their education and have opportunities for safe play, discipleship and learning.
  • Pray for comfort and renewed hope for families who have lost their homes, livelihoods and even loved ones in the earthquake.
  • Pray for the helpers and rescue workers as they continue searching through the rubble and provide support to victims and their families.
  • Pray for the local church partners and Compassion staff living in the affected areas who are caring for children and families while dealing with the impact to their own homes and families.
  • Pray for those in Haiti who need medical attention. Pray for their healing and that they will receive the care and supplies they need.
  • Pray for the safety and protection of our staff. Gang violence and political instability have made travel to the earthquake affected region difficult. Pray for Compassion and other aid organisations as they deliver supplies and bring support teams to the area in these challenging conditions.
  • Pray for those who have experienced trauma in this earthquake and in the earthquakes in 2010 and 2016 in Haiti. Ask God to bring comfort and peace to their hearts and minds.
  • Pray that God would bring peace and strength to Haiti’s leaders as they seek to provide direction and wisdom for the nation’s future.
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 in Haiti are operating differently to abide by local guidelines and stop the spread of COVID-19. Some are meeting in smaller groups or offering home visits, others have resumed their normal activities.

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. What's more, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated during a raid on his home on 7th July.

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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10 Mar, 2020

What's the Difference Between a Refugee, an Asylum Seeker and an Immigrant?

In the past several years, the number of people moving away from their home countries has risen. War, violence, political instability and poverty are pushing people to search for better places. But the terminology can be confusing... Read more

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It's Life and Death When Quadruplets Are Born Into Poverty

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