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January 12, 2015 marks 5 years since a catastrophic earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.3, struck Haiti. The biggest earthquake the region had recorded in 200 years, left more than 1.6 million people homeless, and resulted in an immense humanitarian crisis. Shattering Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and neighboring cities, more than 230,000 were killed and nearly 400,000 homes and 5,000 schools destroyed or damaged.
An already severe situation deteriorated in the first year, with tropical storms causing more destruction and a cholera outbreak leaving thousands dead.
About Save the Children's Work in Haiti
Our Results in Haiti
Save the Children has served the needs of some of Haiti's poorest children and families since 1978. Still reeling from the devastating earthquake of January 2010, Haiti is a dangerous place for children. With 500,000 children living in camps and many others living in slums, all lacking the protection of social and police services, children are under continued threat of exploitation and abuse.
Explore Our Programs
In urban areas, including the capital of Port-au-Prince, Save the Children supports welcome centers for street children that provide food and shelter, education and health programs and counseling and play opportunities. Centers offer scholarship assistance so that children can attend school and provide on-site lessons to prepare children for formal schooling. Save the Children also supports children's rights through direct local interventions and national advocacy. Through a network of children's clubs, we educate girls and boys on their rights, offers recreational youth activities and endorse positive civic participation.
Save the Children implements a rural education program in community, government and mission schools. Through it, we reach thousands of students in Haiti's Central Plateau, Southeast and Artibonite regions. We advocate for state recognition and more resources for the country's growing network of community-run schools. We also pilot school readiness programs for pre-school girls and boys to increase their chances for later educational success. Primary children benefit from our school health and nutrition activities, receiving de-worming medication, iodine, iron supplementation and hygiene training, all of which help them stay in school. Innovative radio learning programs further extend the reach of our educational initiatives. And, Haiti is also part of Save the Children's Rewrite the Future campaign to support education in conflict-affected countries.
In partnership with the Ministry of Health, Save the Children provides quality primary health care to mothers and young children in the Artibonite and Central provinces. We help prevent and treat malaria, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. We also train health care workers, invest in health infrastructure and medical equipment and develop community-based health committees to promote local participation and community well-being. In addition, we vaccinate children, provide them with supplemental vitamins and micronutrients, promote the benefits of breastfeeding and address childhood illnesses such as diarrhea. Save the Children projects also increase access to potable drinking water and oral re-hydration therapies. Reproductive health activities promote family planning, pre- and post-natal visits, safe deliveries and sexual education.
Of all the nations in the Western Hemisphere, none has faced greater challenges to improve the lives of its children than Haiti. In addition to its poor development indicators, Haiti is the country most affected by HIV/AIDS outside of sub-Saharan Africa. HIV/AIDS in Haiti dramatically affects the well-being of children whose health is already compromised by poverty and inadequate access to basic health care.
Save the Children implements an HIV/AIDS program which has been greatly scaled up over the past year. Its goals are to improve access to prevention services and testing and counseling, mobilize community support for orphans and vulnerably children, improve the management of antiretroviral treatment programs and develop a coordinated system of care in the Artibonite, Central, Western and Nippes provinces. Activities include: mobilizing communities to assist persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; and promotion of safer sexual practices among youth. We help form local support groups and health committees and organize public awareness campaigns such as weekly radio broadcasts. Save the Children also leads a consortium of other organizations which is expanding HIV/AIDS programs into disadvantaged rural areas.
Save the Children helps improve the nutritional status of children in eight districts in the Central and Artibonite provinces. We monitor children's nutrition, provide food to pregnant and lactating women, children under age 2 and malnourished children; improve community health and nutrition practices and promote improved agricultural production and marketing to bolster local economic growth.
In Haiti, Save the Children sponsors are one of our most important resources. Through this support, we improve the lives of thousands of children every year by providing primary education and school health and nutrition programs in the Maïssade district in the Central Plateau. We are currently exploring expansion possibilities to other regions.
Haiti Facts and Statistics
Unless otherwise noted, facts and statistics have been sourced from Save the Children’s 2014 State of the World’s Mothers report.You can access detailed data here.
Other sources as follows: Population and Life Expectancy: CIA World Factbook 2014; Human Development Rank: United Nations Development Programme 2014; Underweight Children: World Health Organization Report 2014
Last Updated December 2014