How Child Champions Are Bringing Hope to Kids in the Face of Poverty and Unrest in Haiti
Throughout 2022, we watched and prayed, staying in close contact with our brothers and sisters in Haiti as they weathered a year of unrest and violence. Calling Haiti a hard place seems almost too mild.
Sharing an island in the Caribbean with the Dominican Republic, Haiti has all the ingredients of a tropical paradise – warm, friendly people, delicious food, and sandy beaches. Sadly, Haiti’s beauty is matched by its troubled history of natural disasters such as the devastating earthquake of 2010 and others more recently.
Haiti is also the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where more than half the people live in poverty. But it’s the kids who suffer the most. Nearly a third are malnourished, half of all kids aren’t in school, and 59% of children die before their first birthday.
And in 2022, a new wave of civil unrest swept the island impacting every aspect of daily life.
But if you only see the hardship, you’ve missed the most important fact about Haiti: the courage of faithful Haitians who are forging ahead with incredible resolve and resilience to bring hope and lasting change for the country’s children. We call them Child Champions, because that’s exactly what they are.
Salmon Deliazard, our Country Director in Haiti, recently shared from his heart about the experiences of the past year and how Child Champions in Haiti, empowered by sponsors, have helped the kids in so many ways, including:
- Keeping Hope Centers open for activities despite the civil unrest.
- Conducting home visits to help kids with their schoolwork and to distribute food, medicine, and hygiene items.
- Aspiring to register more children at Hope Centers to keep them from joining gangs.
- Continuing to support local church partners to help kids survive and thrive.
Here’s a recap of Salmon’s top five insights about Haiti 2022:
What has caused the unrest in Haiti?
Many things are happening now in Haiti. Things that do not gladden our hearts. For several years, there has been political instability, and the Haitian people are demanding more from their government as they experience insecurity, a high cost of living, and gas shortages. As a result, there have been riots.
How has this affected the children, families, and Hope Centers in Haiti?
Banks are closed, and people can only access their money if they are lucky. The cost of living has gone through the roof, gas stations are empty, and there is a scarcity of goods as grocery stores and shops are closed most days of the week. Mail and delivery services have stopped, and periodically, school activities, hospitals, and private and public institutions cease to operate.
What have Child Champions been able to do? How are they reaching the children and families?
Fortunately, this past October we were able to adopt new, safe strategies to continue serving our children and families.
The OneChild Haiti office keeps its doors open three days during the week. Hope Center programs that had stopped started back up and now offer activities only on the weekends. Children come to their Hope Center on Friday and Saturday or Saturday and Sunday depending on the area where they live.
Staff make home visits to help children with their school curriculum and to distribute food, medical, and hygiene kits to families with the most need.
Sometimes people feel like there’s not much they can do from so far away. How can people help in this situation?
Please pray for the children, Child Champions, staff, and all the people of Haiti for safety and protection. As able, communicate to your spheres of influence and let them know about the situation in Haiti and the state of our program activities. If you sponsor a child in Haiti, please be patient about when or if you’ll be able to receive updates, photos, and child letters.
What is your greatest hope for this year?
We hope that, with your prayers, Haiti will come out of this problem. We hope that with your donations, we will be able to register many more children so we can reduce the number of children and young people who enlist in gang groups. We hope that through the support of OneChild global, we will be able to continue to support local partners and be able to continue serving the children.
We are accountable to the children we serve AND to our donors.
Our accountability to our donors is one of our highest priorities. Our goal is to use the funds entrusted to us as wise stewards. To do this requires continued monitoring of our fund distribution. OneChild is also a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)