Haiti, with a population of approximately 11 million people, is home to over 760 "orphanages," many of which are not licensed by IBESR, the government's department that regulates "orphanages" and the outward adoption of Haitian children.
The term "orphanages" is a misnomer, as many children living in these facilities actually have living parents and were adopted from Haiti. These "orphanages" are proud to publish these statements on their sites: "We have six orphans now; we hope to have 15 by the end of the year."
This approach is fundamentally flawed and goes against the true essence of providing care and support to vulnerable children. Success in this field should be measured by how few children end up in such institutions and how few orphans in Haiti are adopted overseas.
At HaitiChildren, we don't support the institutionalization of children. We strongly believe in keeping families together and have effective programs to achieve this Haiti orphan crisis. After Hurricane Mathew hit Haiti in 2016, we collaborated with the Digicel Foundation and the Haitian Government on a text campaign. We requested 2.5 million people in Haiti to call the number provided if their families got separated. We received over 100 calls and assisted the families in reuniting.
For 28 years, HaitiChildren has been devoted to helping Haiti's most vulnerable children. Our organization has raised and invested over $40 million in Haiti, a unique endeavor catering to children with disabilities. Unfortunately, the government lacks the financial resources to care for these children, and most "orphanages" funded by foreign aid only accept "perfect" children who are more desirable for outward adoption.
At HaitiChildren, we believe that only meaningful, long-term solutions can be created. Foreign aid, no matter how substantial, is not the answer. However, the international aid community has a role to play. We invest in education, job training, the best medical care, state-of-the-art physical therapy, community education, and other transferable skills for Haitians. By doing so, we can help lift Haiti and create a better future for all.
We hope to have more collaboration from the Haitian industry in supporting our ongoing projects, which we have developed, nurtured, and managed for a long time. Funding and programming assistance from our partners would be greatly appreciated.
Our executive management team makes regular trips to Washington, DC, to meet with senators, congressmen, and their staff to discuss current affairs in Haiti, especially Haiti’s economic problems and situation.
After much discussion, the combination of international philanthropic aid and financial assistance from various governments may be discouraging Haiti from putting in the necessary effort to build a strong nation. A Haitian saying encapsulates our concern: "If work is so good, the rich would do it."
We have had polite conversations with our friends on both sides of the aisle, but we strongly believe that the US should hold Haiti to higher standards of accountability and require tangible results for funds donated and invested by the US Government.
In all our advocacy efforts, our guiding principle remains clear: Every policy should uphold the rights, well-being, and potential of Haiti’s children. We believe in the power of informed, compassionate policy-making to drive meaningful and sustainable change for Haiti. Your support fuels this endeavor, amplifying our voice as we champion a brighter future for the children of Haiti.
International aid efforts in Haiti should be better coordinated to achieve meaningful, measurable, and accountable results that align with the needs and gaps in the social service sector.
We often see several Haiti foreign aid groups working independently, filled with good intentions and faith, but we always ask ourselves a crucial question before initiating any new project - "What drives our desire to provide aid in Haiti? Is it to deliver sustainable programs, seek redemption, or the intoxicating feeling of providing quick and inexpensive help with immediate gratification?" No judgment is intended; we engage in these debates almost every day of the year.
However, what is elementary is that the lack of coordination leads to inefficiency and wastage of dollars.
International aid efforts should work together more closely and strive for a higher return on investment. It's also essential for international aid to work alongside the Government of Haiti to ensure that their aid aligns with the government's vision and policies.
It is important for aid organizations supporting Haiti to prioritize long-term economic sustainability. Due to the limited availability of donations, it is crucial to ensure that resources are efficiently utilized.
At the HaitiChildren Village, we undertake a farm project that allows us to grow a significant amount of fruits and vegetables that we consume. We have around 90,000 honey bees that produce high-quality honey, while our goats and cows provide us with milk and culturally appropriate nutrition. This initiative is beneficial as it helps us save a considerable amount of money each month, which we no longer need to raise. Additionally, we sell our surplus produce in the markets, generating profits that we can reinvest in expanding the farm's scale.