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Poverty in Haiti
On the Caribbean island of Hispaniola lies two countries: Haiti and the Dominican Republic (DR). Despite being on the same island, poverty in Haiti far exceeds that of its neighbor.

The Statistics

The United Nations evaluated Haiti and the DR for human development considering three factors: “a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.” The DR ranked 94th out of 182 countries, indicative of its high human development. Haiti ranks much lower at 168th. The average life expectancy in the DR is 74 years, in contrast to Haiti’s average of 63. The DR’s expected years of schooling are approximately 14 years, while Haiti’s is about nine years.

The difference in development is evident in each countries’ economies as well. In the DR, rates of poverty decreased from 21.7 percent to 19.9 percent from 2015 to 2016. Within five years, the DR’s average rate of GDP growth was 5.8 percent per year. This economic boost has translated into a decrease in poverty and income inequality. In contrast to the DR’s economic success, the Haitian economy is suffering, leading to the majority of its population (58.5 percent) being in poverty in Haiti. In Haiti, GDP has decayed at a rate of 0.2 percent. Rapid inflation also plagues Haiti, indicating its struggling economy.

Differing Geography

There are several reasons behind these stark contrasts in development. The geography of the island is one explanation. The mountains dividing the island are able to prevent rainfall from coming to Haiti. Northeast trade winds blow towards the DR, promoting rainfall on its side. Additionally, deforestation is a serious issue on the Haitian side of the island, creating environmental and agricultural roadblocks.

These geographical features make it troublesome for Haitians to grow crops, which takes a toll on their primarily agricultural economy. This lack of cultivation decreases opportunities for farms in Haiti. The deforestation also diminishes the scenic beauty in the country, while the DR uses its natural scenes to promote tourism additionally bolstering its economy.

Looking to History

Deforestation in Haiti began with its colonization by the Spanish. When the Spanish colony gave a part of Hispaniola to France in 1697, the French began to import an excessive amount of slaves into the land. Although the Spanish also used slaves, France used nearly 10 times as much. The French over-cultivated the same cash crops, coffee and sugar in the same soil, which led to the environmental devastation of the country today. Haiti was the first independent black state, which came at a large cost as well. Its extreme amount of debt to the French government deteriorated its economy, as well as disputes about how to construct its new autonomous government. Although U.S. occupation and political instability riddled both the DR and Haiti, Haiti has received continuous exploitation and its leaders have had little regard for economic development.

Although there have been many countries that have provided international aid and relief, notably the U.S., the country has not been able to solve much. This is mostly due to the country not having the necessary investment in its aid. In fact, Haiti has even pursued policies that actively diminish its economy.

Organizations in Haiti

Although many countries have not aided Haiti with its recovery from exploitation, several non-governmental organizations have pursued several projects to tackle poverty in Haiti. After Haiti’s disastrous 2010 earthquake, Global Communities implemented several initiatives to remove rubble. The organization has now removed over one million cubic meters of rubble, providing 20,000 locals with short-term jobs. Global Communities also created the Lavi Miyo Nan Katye pa’m Nan (LAMIKA) program, which translates to “a better life in the neighborhood.” It focuses on Carrefour-Feuilles, a poverty-ridden neighborhood greatly affected by the earthquake in Port-au-Prince. It is reconstructing 1,500 meters of roads, almost 2,000 meters of pedestrian footpaths and nine schools. It has also worked to improve the water and sanitation systems of the country.

The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) has also conducted several projects to alleviate poverty in Haiti. To improve the economy, PADF implemented the LEAD program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). LEAD connects investors from the U.S. and Canada to Haitian businesses, helping them develop into larger enterprises. Collaborating with American Red Cross and USAID, PADF encourages “resilient urban development” in the area of Canaan under the program name, Ann Boust Canaan. The program has introduced vocational schools to better train residents for jobs. Additionally, it has created 1,500 new jobs and linked citizens to businesses to better access their finances.

To expand the limited medical treatment in Haiti, Doctors Without Borders manages three hospitals in Port-Au-Prince. There is a prevalence of burn victims that require medical care in this region, so, in 2017, the organization administered 1,300 emergency room visits and aided approximately 700 patients. Victims of sexual and gender-based abuse obtained care, with 769 patients receiving treatment in 2017. Doctors Without Borders educates hospital staff and has begun building a new hospital in Haiti as well.

What Individuals Can Do

For those who would like to be more involved in the process of reducing poverty in Haiti, they can make donations to programs through the organization Hope for Haiti. The program allows donors to choose where they would like their donation to go, such as health care, education and environmental development. Another more active approach is volunteering for Haitian organizations. The organization MedShare sends medical supplies to Haitian hospitals and clinics and requires volunteers to package the items in the U.S. before shipping.

Haiti has undergone exploitation throughout its history. The DR has experienced exploitation, but to a lesser extent, which its better economic and environmental conditions today show. Since countries have not aided Haiti sufficiently, there are several non-governmental organizations that have helped in recovery from its instability. Individuals can also help by volunteering their time or supplies to Haitians in need. Being born on different sides of the same island should not determine drastically different life outcomes.

Diana Piper
Photo: Flickr

Five Facts about Healthcare in Haiti
Haiti is known as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Unsurprisingly, the Caribbean country also reports some of the lowest health indicators in the world due to a number of factors including weak infrastructure and low public health care spending. Keep reading to learn the top five facts about health care in Haiti.

5 Facts About Health Care in Haiti

  1. Lack of Infrastructure: frequent natural disasters, such as the earthquake of 2010 and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, make it difficult to maintain basic health facilities in Haiti. For example, the 2010 earthquake destroyed 50 health centers, part of Haiti’s main teaching hospital and the Ministry of Health. Lack of basic infrastructure also limits the accessibility of clean water and sanitation systems.
  2. Continued Effects of Cholera: following an earthquake in 2010, Haiti suffered its first cholera outbreak in a decade, when infected sewage contaminated a river. Approximately 10,000 people have died of cholera, while more than 800,000 have contracted the infection. Despite the United Nation’s promise to raise $400 million for a Haitian Cholera Relief Fund, the U.N. has raised only 8.7 million (2.2 percent of the amount promised). Even now, nearly a decade after the outbreak, cholera infects approximately 75 people every week. This outbreak continues to put a strain on the Haitian health care system.
  3. Child Malnutrition: 20 percent of Haitian children suffer from malnutrition. Further, half of these children are acutely malnourished. Malnourishment also contributes to high rates of childhood mortality in Haiti and 7 percent of children will die before their fifth birthday. For context, the childhood mortality rate of Haiti is exceptionally high, twice that of its neighbor, the Dominican Republic. Even when malnourished children survive, malnutrition continues to affect them throughout their lives. The lack of adequate nutrients early in life reduces an individual’s physical and mental development going forward.As of January 2018, there are three active USAID programs in Haiti with a specific focus on nutrition.
    • Aksyon Kominote nan Sante pou Ogmante Nitrisyon (AKSYON)
    • Ranfose Abitid Nitrisyon pou Fè Ogmante Sante (RANFOSE)
    • Feed the Future West Chanje Lavi Plantè
  4. Lack of Preventive Care: more than half of health care spending in Haiti goes toward curative medicine, as opposed to preventive care. This focus stems primarily from frequent natural disasters in the area. Low numbers of health care professionals in Haiti make it even more difficult for Haitians to seek regular, preventive care. According to the World Health Organization, for every 3,000 citizens, there is only one trained doctor or nurse in Haiti.
  5. Low Public Healthcare Spending: despite health challenges in Haiti, the government’s spending on health has lowered drastically since 2002, going from 16.6 percent to 4.4 percent of the national budget. In fact, public per capita healthcare spending is only 13 dollars a year. This is significantly lower than per capita healthcare spending in neighboring Dominican Republic, which is 180 dollars per capita. With declining international assistance, low government spending makes primary health care in Haiti difficult to access.

The health care system in Haiti is constantly under strain, due to low government spending and frequent natural disasters. Poor health across the country debilitates its growth and development. The World Bank has made several policy recommendations targeted at changing the status quo in Haiti. Chief among them is a reallocation of resources from hospitals to more preventative care and primary clinics.

– Morgan Harden
Photo: Unsplash

Poverty in Haiti
From the devastation caused by the 2010 earthquake and the Haitian Creole word “chanje,” meaning “change” and “transformation,” hope for Haitians has emerged in the form of the Chanje Movement. According to the movement’s website if you can say yes to change and share it with the community and the world, then you could be considered as a part of the Chanje Movement.

Yet, beyond such motivating and inclusive statements, the Chanje Movement tangibly combats poverty in Haiti by transforming the lives of the next generation through addressing basic needs, creating healthy communities and providing leadership training.

The Chanje Movement believes that young people in Haiti have the power to reconstruct a nation in which more than 50 percent of the population is poor and 2.5 million people need humanitarian aid eight years after the earthquake that took 316,000 lives.

Five of the projects the Chanje Movement promotes on its website highlight five symptoms of poverty in Haiti. They are described below.

The Dream Center

The Dream Center is intended to be a community center where Haitians can gather to have a variety of physical and social needs meant. In Croix-des-Bouquets, a village about eight miles northeast of Port-au-Prince, people are working on building in stages a space for a church with a local pastor, a medical clinic, an education center, a trade school, a home for orphans and an auditorium for special events.

Specifically, the Chanje Movement desires for this type of space to be replicable throughout Haiti, so as they equip the Haitians of Croix-des-Bouquets, they can, in turn, spread similar positive change throughout the country. The World Bank claims that one of the key needs poverty in Haiti has created is the investment in people, both in their individual futures and access to basic services and collectively as a community. The Dream Center aims to accomplish these needs.

Clean Water

So many places in Haiti need clean water that the Chanje Movement usually has a waitlist for when they receive donations. Less than 50 percent of the rural population has access to clean water. This is because rural areas often depend on piped water systems that require hand pumps. These systems require funds for maintenance, so they are often neglected. The lack of clean water unsurprisingly leads to health problems, such as the cholera epidemic after the 2010 earthquake that claimed 8,700 lives. The whole system is tenuous, as exemplified by the resurgence in cholera in early 2015 following heavy rains.

Build a Home

Tens of thousands of Haitians lost homes in the earthquake and about 55,000 people still live in tents and makeshift homes eight years later. These abodes do not offer safety, shelter from tropical storms, insulation or hygienic conditions. The Chanje Movement’s efforts to build real homes benefits individuals and the Haitian economy, as Haitian workers are employed to construct them.

Micro Loans

With donated funds, the Chanje Movement loans up to $500 to Haitians to be paid back in six months to two years, increasing economic stability by allowing Haitians a chance to start businesses. When the loans are paid back, funds are immediately reinvested in a new entrepreneur. The World Bank claims that helping Haitians use their skills to start their own businesses will be crucial in ending poverty in Haiti, as the income a business provides will allow assets to accumulate, protecting the next generation of Haitians from the devastating consequences of a natural disaster like the earthquake with savings.

Additionally, helping Haitians generate more steady income through their own businesses could address the orphan crisis that is a huge issue related to poverty in Haiti. Currently, 30,000 children live in orphanages in Haiti, but 80 percent of these orphans have at least one living parent, a discrepancy caused by the homelessness following the earthquake.

Backpacks for Kids

Meanwhile, backpacks full of supplies help provide for some of the country’s orphans at the homes the Chanje Movement has for children in Croix-des-Bouquets.

Daniel DiGrazia attends Crossline Church, a church partnered with a Christian organization called The Global Mission that currently connects 18 churches and humanitarian outreaches around the world, including the Chanje Movement. DiGrazia has been to Haiti four times in the past three years and explains that a key part of distributing these supplies, which he helped with earlier this summer, is playing with the kids that live in these orphanages.

Because he keeps going back, he says, “I have grown in relationship with a multitude of the people there.” While DiGrazia’s team helped the Chanje Movement administer relief during his trips, the reason he keeps going back is to show love to the Haitians by continuing to invest in these relationships.

He explains, “I’d love to go again next year. It is a really good experience and I really love the people there. And I really don’t want to just be there and gone. I want to build relationships and keep coming back and see how they’re doing.”

For those that cannot immediately travel to Haiti, supporting the Chanje Movement tangibly combats poverty in Haiti. In the past year, thousands of Haitians had basic needs met with clean water and food provided by the Chanje Movement. This organization has also trained 500 future leaders and helped 75 children access education, taking steps towards Haiti without poverty and the need for humanitarian aid.

– Charlotte Preston
Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Haiti
From the devastation of the 2010 earthquake, and the Haitian Creole word meaning “change” and “transformation,” hope for Haitians has emerged in the form of the Chanje Movement.

According to the movement’s website, “If you can say, ‘Yes, I want to experience change and I want to share it with my community and my world,’ then you can consider yourself part of the Chanje Movement!”

Addressing Five Symptoms of Poverty in Haiti

Yet beyond such motivating and inclusive statements, the Chanje Movement tangibly combats poverty in Haiti by transforming the lives of the next generation through addressing basic needs, creating healthy communities and providing leadership training.

The Chanje Movement believes that young people in Haiti have the power to reconstruct a nation where more than 50 percent of the population is poor and 2.5 million people need humanitarian aid eight years after the earthquake that took 316,000 lives.

Five of the projects the Chanje Movement promotes on its website highlight five symptoms caused by poverty in Haiti.

The Dream Center

This Dream Center is intended to be a community center where Haitians can gather for a variety of physical and social needs.

In Croix de Bouqets, they are working on building in stages a space for a church with a local pastor, a medical clinic, an education center, a trade school, a home for orphans and an auditorium for special events. Specifically, the Chanje Movement desires for this type of space to be replicable throughout Haiti, so they can equip the Haitians of Croix de Bouqets and, in turn, spread similar positive change throughout Haiti.

The World Bank claims that one of the key needs for eliminating poverty in Haiti is an investment in people — both in their individual futures and access to basic services, and collectively as a community. The Dream Center aims to accomplish both of these endeavors.

Clean Water

Numerous places in Haiti require clean water and to address this need, the Chanje Movement usually has a waitlist for when they receive donations.

Less than 50 percent of the rural population has access to clean water as rural areas often depend on hand-pumped, piped water systems. These systems require maintenance funds and, as a result, are often neglected.

The lack of clean water unsurprisingly leads to health problems, such as the cholera epidemic after the 2010 earthquake that claimed 8,700 lives. The whole system is tenuous, as exemplified by the resurgence in cholera in early 2015 following heavy rains.

Build a Home

Tens of thousands of Haitians lost their homes in the earthquake eight years ago, and about 55,000 people still live in tents and makeshift homes today. These abodes do not offer safety, shelter from tropical storms, insulation or hygienic conditions.

The Chanje Movement’s efforts to build real homes benefits individuals and the Haitian economy, as Haitian workers are employed to construct them.

Micro Loans

With donated funds, the Chanje Movement loans out $200-$500 to Haitians be paid back in six months to two years, which increases economic stability and allows Haitians a chance to start businesses. When the loans are paid back, funds are immediately reinvested in a new entrepreneur.

The World Bank claims that helping Haitians use their skills to start their own businesses will be crucial to ending poverty in Haiti, as the income of a business will allow assets to accumulate and protect the next generation of Haitians from the devastating consequences of a natural disaster like the earthquake with increased savings.

Additionally, helping Haitians generate a more steady income through their own businesses could address the orphan crisis that is hugely related to poverty in Haiti.

Currently, 500,000 children are considered orphans in Haiti, but 80 percent of these orphans have at least one living parent. This discrepancy is predominantly caused by the homelessness following the earthquake. Due to lack of shelter, food and resources, many parents decided their children would be better provided for in orphanages. Fortunately, providing job opportunities through microloans, in addition to the Chanje Movement’s homes, has the potential to reverse this cycle and keep children and parents together.

Backpacks for Kids

Meanwhile, backpacks full of supplies help provide for some of the country’s orphans within the Chanje Movement’s homes for children in Croix de Bouqets.

The Borgen Project had the opportunity to interview Daniel DiGrazia, who is from Crossline Church, one of The Global Mission’s partner churches. He has been to Haiti four times in the past three years, and explains that a key part of distributing these supplies is playing with the kids that live in these orphanages.

Since he makes frequent return trips, DiGrazia has “grown in relationship with a multitude of the people there.” While DiGrazia’s team helped the Chanje Movement administer relief during his trips, the main reason he keeps going back is to show love to the Haitians and invest in the people and relationships.

He explains, “I’d love to go again next year…It’s a really good experience and I really love the people there. And I really don’t want to just be there and gone. I want to build relationships and keep coming back and see how they’re doing.”

DiGrazia has also personally benefitted from going to Haiti, growing in his faith, relationships, understanding and generosity.

Chanje Movement

For those that cannot immediately travel to Haiti, supporting the Chanje Movement has the capability to combat poverty in Haiti. In the past year, thousands of Haitians had basic needs met with clean water and food provided by the Chanje Movement.

The organization also trained 500 future leaders and helped 75 children access education — tangible efforts that take the necessary steps towards a Haiti without poverty and the need for humanitarian aid.

– Charlotte Preston
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts about Living Conditions in Haiti
Misconceptions about life in Haiti reach all around the world. After the devastation of the island in 2010 due to a magnitude seven earthquake, many citizens were killed or left homeless and scared. The image of Haiti in the eyes of the world has become that of a poor country stuck in a cycle of poverty. But, what are the living conditions in Haiti actually like? Here are the top 10 facts about living conditions in Haiti.

Top 10 Facts about Living Conditions in Haiti

  1. Rural life is much more difficult – A lot of attention is given to the capital city of Port-au-Prince in the news, but the living conditions in Haiti in rural areas show higher poverty rates than in the city. In the city, poverty rates declined between 2000 and 2012; however, they remained the same in rural areas, which often receive less help rebuilding after natural disasters and have less access to basic necessities.
  2. Tropical storms disrupt life – The major recurring disasters that strike Haiti are tropical storms. Because of its position in the Caribbean, hurricanes and other storms can often cause problems, destroying property as Haitians are trying to rebuild and contaminating water sources.
  3. Drinking water can be unsafe – Cholera is very common in both rural areas and cities due to contamination in the water. At most, 48 percent of the population has access to safe sanitation, but that is only in urban areas. In rural areas, fewer than 20 percent have access to clean water and sanitation. Malaria also poses a risk to many. These diseases can be fatal without access to healthcare.
  4. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 continues to affect crops and housing – Hurricane Matthew affected 2.1 million Haitians with the elderly being hit the hardest. Habitat for Humanity has provided housing kits and building materials to help elders rebuild since they often are responsible for other family members and have greater difficulty finding work. Additionally, since Haiti imports most of its food, the few crops that are grown are often destroyed in natural disasters like Hurricane Matthew, which has a strong impact on the elders who require good nutrition and better living conditions in Haiti.
  5. Environmental concerns affect the people – According to Human Rights Watch, “As of September 2017, authorities had failed to assist many of the nearly 38,000 individuals still living in displacement camps since the 2010 earthquake.” These people have neither been resettled nor allowed to return to their original homes. The living conditions in Haiti for these individuals are most threatened by widespread deforestation, pollution and limited access to safe water.
  6. Housing shortages are a big problem – Even before Hurricane Matthew and the 2010 earthquake, overcrowding and lack of housing were major issues, mainly in Port-au-Prince and other cities. Destruction has exacerbated this, forcing many into more cramped and unhealthy conditions, often living in tents and makeshift houses.
  7. Habitat for Humanity has made great strides in helping rebuild – Right now, Habitat for Humanity, in addition to sending supplies and volunteers, has been focusing on creating long-term renewal in Haitian housing. In 2014, they launched The Canaan Project, which focuses on community development and working with families to rebuild their homes.
  8. Tree planting offers hope against deforestation – Deforestation has been a big problem for Haiti, especially when it comes to using wood for fuel and cooking. It is being combated by government efforts to stop illegal deforesting and a plan to plant more than 10,000 hectares of land, which was implemented in 2013. The increase in trees is also expected to help lessen the effects of natural disasters by decreasing mudslides and helping protect water sources.
  9. Poverty has decreased – While almost 60 percent of people in Haiti were still living below the poverty line in 2012, this number is still an improvement on the estimated 80 percent living in poverty in 1999. This rate of improvement is promising to Haitians, and if it continues over the next decade, Haiti may no longer be considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
  10. Literacy efforts are helping to educate Haitians – The key to lifting Haiti out of poverty is educating the workforce since there is a severe lack of skilled laborers. The labor force consists of about 4.6 million people, but most of these are unskilled laborers. Haiti’s literacy rate is currently only 61 percent, but charities like World Renew are working to help adults learn to write and read competently in order to find better jobs and improve the education of the younger generations.

Haitians have a long history of surviving repeated setbacks. In spite of some of the negative facts about living conditions in Haiti, many charitable organizations are working on the ground to change the status quo. Haiti is seeing improvement and has a real chance of overcoming some of the adversity it has seen and growing into a strong nation.

– Grace Gay
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts about Hunger in Haiti
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, countries around the world, including the U.S., sent a great deal of assistance to the devastated country. The U.S. has given about $13 billion to Haiti in foreign aid. Despite these efforts, the people of Haiti still face elevated poverty and hunger levels.

In October 2016, Haiti faced one of its worst hurricanes to date. Hurricane Matthew was a category four storm that caused severe damage and killed approximately 600 people. Many organizations continue to help repair the damage Matthew and earlier storms brought to Haiti. To understand the severity of the crisis, look below for the top 10 facts about hunger in Haiti:

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Haiti

  1. In April 2017, Haiti had the lowest food availability in the world. The Dominican Republic was the second lowest with Chad following in third. In the U.S., food availability is measured to be about 3,750 calories per person each day. In Haiti, there are about 1,976 calories per person available each day. This does not mean that each person has the opportunity to consume these many calories. Some Haitians consume far above this number while many consume far below it.
  2. Roughly 50 percent of Haiti’s population is undernourished. Even before the 2010 earthquake, 40 percent of households were undernourished. The already high number has risen as a consequence of repeated natural disasters in the country, like Hurricane Matthew.
  3. One-in-five Haitian children are malnourished. One-in-10 Haitian children are acutely malnourished. One-in-14 will die before age five.
  4. Haiti is the poorest country in the Northern hemisphere. Two out of three Haitians live on less than $2 per day. In comparison, the average American spends around $140 per day.
  5. Haiti’s main staple food is rice, importing 80 percent of it, despite the fact that 50 percent of the jobs in the country are related to agriculture and 25 percent of the country’s GDP comes from agriculture.
  6. Only 10 percent of Haitian agricultural lands are irrigated, which leaves the country extremely dependent on rain. This makes the country especially vulnerable as droughts can have an amplified impact on the population’s health and well-being.
  7. Haiti is the third most affected country by extreme weather. The weather has a severe impact on food resources available to Haitians because it can destroy crops and land. Haiti’s hunger and poverty levels are repeatedly exacerbated by cases of drought and hurricanes. Though these events are extremely tragic, the relief efforts that have followed such disasters have allowed other countries to see exactly how bad the hunger and poverty crises are. This has sparked an increased effort to provide aid and growth initiatives to Haiti.
  8. Fifty-nine percent of Haitian people live in poverty and almost 25 percent live in extreme poverty. The poverty rate in the U.S. fluctuates between 10 and 15 percent.
  9. Fewer than 50 percent of households in Haiti have access to clean water. Only 25 percent of households in Haiti have access to adequate sanitation. A lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation make the population more prone to diseases.
  10. A third of all women and children in Haiti suffer from anemia. Anemia is a condition that arises when a person does not have enough red blood cells. The disease often results when one faces deficiencies of particular nutrients – especially iron. It is particularly common in women because they lose blood at high rates through menstrual cycles. Anemia can cause severe organ damage if left untreated.

These top 10 facts about hunger in Haiti highlight the dire conditions in the country. Though the hunger crisis persists, there are organizations working tirelessly to help the country and its people. An example of this is an organization called Action Against Hunger. This organization seeks to provide families in Haiti with agricultural training. This gives them not just short-term food relief, but also a long-term source of food and economic growth.

Natural disasters are inevitable and one cannot be sure when Haiti will face another great set back. However, if more is done to amplify the country’s growth now, Haiti will be better prepared to face such disasters and avoid some of its devastating consequences.

– Julia Bloechl

Photo: Flickr

Top 10 facts about human rights in Haiti
Located on the island of Hispaniola, Haiti is home to a population of around 11 million people and has been victim to environmental disasters and political corruption. These issues are still prevalent today and continue to affect Haitians around the country; here are 10 facts about humans rights in Haiti that everyone should know.

10 Facts About Human Rights in Haiti

  1. Throughout history, Haiti has suffered many natural disasters that have ruined entire regions and left families homeless and in dire need of government support. The last category-5 hurricane – Hurricane Matthew – killed around 336 people, and displaced more than 60,000 others. The Haitian government worked with UNICEF and other humanitarian programs since to assist families and children and provide clean drinking water.
  2. The prison system is one of the greatest human rights issues in Haiti. Haitian prisons have the highest overcrowding rate in the entire world, and around 80 percent of the inmates are still awaiting trial and have never been convicted of a crime.
  3. Haiti’s illiteracy rate is the highest in the western hemisphere. Despite efforts to reform the education system, the country still faces shortages in school supplies and qualified teachers. Enrollment rates, however, have been steadily increasing, allowing Haitian children the fundamental right to receive an education.
  4. The displacement of Haitian children after the 2010 Hurricane led to a striking increase in human trafficking. Today, around 30,000 children live in orphanages. Many of these so-called “orphanages” are actually trafficking businesses exploiting children and forcing them to work in dirty, inhumane environments. J.K. Rowling, the writer of the best-selling Harry Potter novels, has created a non-profit organization called Lumos that strives to end corrupt human traffickers from preying on vulnerable children.
  5. In 2015, allegations were made about fraudulent behavior related to the presidential election in the nation. After the allegations were confirmed in 2016, another election was held and declared Jovenel Moise as the new Haitian president in 2017. Recently, Moise has been in political turmoil over the new fuel price hike and Haitians are violently demanding that he step down from office.
  6. The LGBTQ community continues to suffer substantial discrimination from the Haitian government. In 2017, the Haitian Senate introduced a bill that grouped homosexuality as a reason to deny a citizen a certificate, and included child pornography and incest; the Senate has since approved the bill.
  7. The Haiti labor code does not set a minimum age for work in domestic services. Restaveks, also known as child domestic workers, are often impoverished girls sent to work for wealthy families in hopes of a better lifestyle. These children end up receiving no schooling, work long hours and are often victims of sexual abuse.
  8. Haiti has the highest rate of infant, toddler and maternal mortality in the western hemisphere. Haitians are deprived of basic human rights such as healthcare — 60 percent lack healthcare access.
  9. Refugee rights are the same thing as human rights. Haitians were given a temporary status (TPS) given to eligible nationals of certain countries who reside in the United States. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a decision to terminate protection for around 60,000 people, making Haitians at risk of deportation in the U.S.A.
  10. Food insecurity has also been exacerbated by natural disasters. Thirty-eight percent of Haitians are food insecure and do not have basic access to food. Subsequently, food prices are on the rise and destruction of agricultural fields have only worsened the food deficit within the country.

Proactive and Concentrated Efforts

These 10 facts about human rights in Haiti raise many concerns. Nevertheless, nationwide and international programs are dedicated to finding solutions to provide a better lifestyle for people in Haiti.

– Lilly Hershey-Webb
Photo: Flickr

What is the Current State of Poverty in Haiti?

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most poverty-stricken countries in the developing world. Despite this, the Trump Administration is abruptly ending the Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. The humanitarian program allowed about 59,000 Haitians to live and work in the U.S. since the 2010 earthquake which killed 150,000 people.

Haitians will be expected to leave the U.S. by July 2019 or face deportation. This is devastating news for Haitians who earn money in the U.S. to send to their families and for those receiving an education.

Poverty in Haiti

According to the World Bank, life expectancy for Haitians is only 57 years. Less than half of the population is literate and only about one child in five of secondary-school age actually attends secondary school.

Health conditions are poor and about one-fourth of the population has access to safe water. The population continues to grow at a high rate, estimated at almost 200,000 people per year, with the overwhelming majority living in extreme poverty.

Key factors of poverty in Haiti include political instability, inadequate growth in private investment, underinvestment in human capital, and poverty traps including environmental degradation, crime, systematic human rights violations, and outward migration.

Steps to be taken

  1. Strengthen essential public sector institutions, improve coordination and consultation within government, and re-establish and consolidate political stability.
  2. Strengthen macroeconomic stability and reduce distortions in order to encourage private sector investment and increase productivity.
  3. Improve the quality of government spending, invest in the provision of basic human needs, and raise the level of human capital.
  4. Ration the assistance provided by external donors.

There is clearly a lot of work to be done, but instead of abandoning Haitians when they need help the most, the U.S. needs to directly help with overturning their situation of dire poverty.

– Julia Lee

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Haiti
Haiti is a country that struggles with severe poverty, being thrown inevitable challenges such as damage from hurricanes and earthquakes, causing the mass destruction of buildings and supplies that are difficult to come by in the first place. Haitians are in a constant fight to survive, but the good news is that efforts can be made to make a difference. Discussed below are the leading facts about poverty in Haiti and their implications.

 

Top 6 Facts on Poverty in Haiti

 

  1. Due to natural disasters, Haiti has faced major financial losses. Since the latest disaster caused by Hurricane Matthew, predicted losses add up to over $1.9 billion. This amounts to 22 percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product. Haiti’s current economic growth rate is only one percent. With post-Matthew reconstruction, Haiti’s fiscal debt continues to grow.
  2. The World Bank has come up with a program called the Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF). The HRF has cleaned up 900,000 cubic meters of debris and supplied Haiti with a total of $411.4 million. Furthermore, the group has managed to support the repair and rebuilding of almost 2,600 houses and delivered food to 252 schools which provided 93,000 students with meals.
  3. Although two-fifths of Haitians depend on agricultural production to provide income, around 30 percent of Haiti still struggles to obtain food. International aid has helped provide many of these people with food and continues to work on supplying sustainable farming techniques.
  4. Ninety percent of farmers must depend on the weather for their crops to be sufficiently watered. In drier seasons or droughts, these farmers are likely to lose their crops, which are both a source of sustenance and income. This, again, puts an emphasis on the importance of environmental care in Haiti.
  5. The richest 10 percent of Haitians receive 70 percent of the country’s total income. This illustrates class inequality and the vast gap in income that many third-world countries struggle with. In Haiti, especially, it is important to advocate on behalf of the country’s poor.
  6. Haiti is still considered to be one of the poorest countries in the world, with 59 percent of Haitians living below the national poverty line. Haiti depends heavily on foreign aid and other forms of economic assistance.

These facts about poverty in Haiti may raise curiosity around the following question: how can people help fight poverty in Haiti? For those who are looking to help, there are several effective charities helping to bring relief to Haitians, including Konbit Mizik, Madre, The Lambi Fund of Haiti and many others.

Noel Mcdavid

Photo: Flickr

poverty in haiti poor
In 2010, Haiti was struck by what has been called the strongest earthquake since 1770. The 7.0 mW quake with aftershocks ranging from 4.2 to 5.9 affected at least three million people and increased poverty in Haiti. But in the last three years, the world at large has turned away from the struggle of the Haitian people to focus on newer problems. The fact remains, though, that aid is still needed. Below are leading facts you should know about poverty in Haiti.

 

Top 5 Facts About Poverty in Haiti

 

  1. Even before the earthquake hit, 1.9 million people were in need of food assistance. Around 60 percent of the population lives on less than $1.00 a day. As a result, malnutrition and anemia run rampant. Haiti is the third hungriest country in the world.
  2. Only 50 percent of the people have access to an improved water source, such as a hand pump or a well. This means that most of the population depends on lakes, streams and rivers for their water, regardless of the cleanliness. Even if some people can get to better water than others, a total of 80 percent do not have adequate sanitation available. So even if they run less risk of becoming ill from bad water, they are unable to clean themselves and are susceptible to disease and infection.
  3. Only fifty percent of children living in Haiti are able to go to school. Furthermore, only 30 percent of those progress to the fifth grade. As a result, half of Haitians are illiterate. Without a proper education, the people are unable to break free of the cycle of poverty.
  4. Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas, with 59 percent of the population living below the national poverty line. The World Bank estimates that the earthquake caused about $7.8 billion in damage.
  5. There is a large population of orphaned children in Haiti, many of whom are living on the streets. There were an estimated 380,000 prior to the earthquake and untold thousands added to that number after it. There are also about 250,000 restaveks, or children working as servants and often treated as slaves.

It is easy to put the continued suffering of Haiti out of one’s mind when other world disasters have since risen to the forefront, but that does not mean that Haiti stopped warranting the world’s attention. The earthquake may have happened almost four years ago, but the people there are still greatly in need of assistance and guidance.

Chelsea Evans

Sources: Fox News, P81 Haiti Relief, Fox Business

Photo: Flickr