Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. It is a beautiful country but has a long and difficult history. As a French colony with hundreds of thousands of slaves, Haiti was one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean through the sugar and forestry industries and the importation of African slaves.
In 1804 after 500,000 slaves revolted, Haiti became the first black republic to declare independence. But years of political corruption, violence, and a debilitating annual hurricane season has turned Haiti into one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean.
On January 12, 2010, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit the country. More than 230,000 people were killed, and a year later more than one million remained displaced within the capital, Port-au-Prince, living under tents and tarps in terrible living conditions that fostered a cholera outbreak. Even before the earthquake took the lives of so many, Haiti was estimated to have 380,000 orphaned children. That number today is even higher.
Before the 2010 earthquake 80 percent of Haitians were living below the poverty line. There’s no doubt that number has increased. Many of these families live in homes pieced together with tarps, wood, and scraps of metal. They can’t afford medical care or the cost of books, uniforms, and supplies for their children to go to school. Many of these communities do not even have proper running water, electricity, or sewer systems.
Why We Serve in Haiti
Children of the Nations' Involvement
When the earthquake hit in 2010, COTN was already working in the Dominican Republic, in several communities just across the border from Haiti. With the help of partners, COTN quickly formed Venture Teams with medical personnel and loaded a 40-foot shipping container of medical supplies.
The team identified 13 children in need of critical medical care—children suffering from amputations, major injuries, and emotional trauma. Along with their families, the children were brought to COTN’s medical clinic in the Dominican Republic, where COTN–Dominican Republic nurses partnered with medical Venture Team members to care for them. Now, all of them are healed and most are back home in Haiti. But the needs of many other children in Haiti are still great.
Village Partnership Program: