Many know Haiti for its need for foreign aid. Not only do its citizens suffer at the hands of their own government, but natural disasters caused more than half of Haiti’s population to fall into poverty, as of 2012. Project Esperanza, an NGO based in the Dominican Republic, is working to help immigrants escaping poverty in Haiti build new lives for themselves and their families.
Causes of Poverty in Haiti
Haiti is classified as a Republic. It has executive, legislative and judicial branches. Citizens vote for their president and prime minister (who each serve a five-year term). Though the nation is in dire need of aid for its citizens, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was on the fence about giving aid to the government in 2019. After the IMF struck a deal with Haiti to give the country $229 million, there was a significant governmental change when they switched prime ministers. This untimely decision, halting the exchange of the funds, had a negative outcome, as Haitian citizens needed that aid.
The government’s lack of cooperation accentuates poverty in Haiti, but one of the main causes of poverty in Haiti recently is the economic downturn in 2019. Haiti closed its borders completely for almost half of 2019 because of fuel shortages. Venezuelan gas providers cut Haiti off due to unpaid debts and a fuel crisis also in Venezuela. With essential services like hospitals unable to operate, the need for foreign aid increased. Without access to proper health care, poverty in Haiti increased.
Project Esperanza Aids Haitian Immigrants
A common way of escaping poverty is immigration. Many Haitians find refuge in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. Immigrants make the difficult decision to leave their entire lives behind and start fresh. Approximately 800,000 Haitian immigrants have settled in the Dominican Republic.
Fortunately, there are people willing to help these immigrants build a better life for themselves and their families. Project Esperanza is an NGO that helps give Haitian immigrants the tools that they need in order to survive outside of their country of origin. The organization recognizes that Haiti is a well-known crisis zone in constant need of humanitarian aid, with one of its main concerns being poverty among its citizens. Therefore, it works to ensure that Haitian immigrants receive the support they need to rise out of poverty once they reach the Dominican Republic.
One of Project Esperanza’s initiatives has employed Haitian artists in a free trade art shop so that they can make a living in their new home. The organization also runs a boys’ home for immigrant youth without familial support and sponsors schools across the country. Project Esperanza’s primary focus is providing educational and social opportunities for immigrants, adapting to their needs.
Rising poverty in Haiti has caused an increase in Haitian immigrants. Moving forward, it is essential that the Haitian government and international humanitarian organizations address the causes of poverty and provide much-needed aid. The work that organizations like Project Esperanza are doing is also essential, helping immigrants build successful and prosperous lives.
– Moriah Thomas