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Striving to give every child of Haiti a chance at a promising future.

Striving to give every child of Haiti a chance at a promising future.

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About Haiti

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The Republic of Haiti occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti, the indigenous Taino name for the island, means land of high mountains. In 1804, Haiti became the world’s first black-led republic when it gained independence from France after a decade-long slave revolt.  Over the centuries, however, economic, political and social crises, as well as a number of natural disasters, have beset Haiti with chronic poverty and other serious problems. In January 2010, a catastrophic earthquake and its aftershocks killed an estimated 230,000 people, injured several hundred thousands others, and forced more than a million people into homelessness.

From 1950 to 2012 the total population grew from 3.2 million to 10.17 million, about 72% of which lives on less than US$2 a day.  About half of the population live in urban areas, mostly in densely populated slums called bidonvilles that lack basic sanitation, health and other public services.    

Issues facing children in Haiti
  • Haiti has the highest rates of infant, under-five and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere. Diarrhoea, respiratory infections, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are the leading causes of death.
  • Some 60 per cent of people, primarily in rural areas, lack access to basic health-care services.
  • Numerous schools and hospitals have closed because teachers, social workers and health providers could not go to work for fear of violence.
  • It is estimated that about 5.6 per cent of people aged 15-49 years old in Haiti are living with HIV/AIDS. This includes about 19,000 children. Antiretroviral drugs are extremely scarce.
  • Only a little over half of primary school-age children are enrolled in school. Less than 2 per cent of children finish secondary school.
  • Approximately 1,000 children are working as messengers, spies and even soldiers for armed gangs in Port Au Prince.

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