“Haiti is the hardest country in the world to help.”
(Gerald A. Drew, former U.S. ambassador)
It’s hard to imagine that just a short plane trip from US shores is a place unlike any in the world—a place where the daily search for human survival is a constant way of life.
“Few countries in the world can claim to rival Haiti for its negative public image. . . . Haiti has always been bad news.” It is usually defined by its deficiencies of crushing poverty—a lack of access to quality food and clean water and basic health care. By every statistical measure, Haiti is suffering. It ranks as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with more than 59 percent of the population living in poverty on an average family income of less than US$2 per day and 24.7 percent living in extreme poverty on less than US$1.25 per day. 30 percent of the population is considered food insecure. Over two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs.
Children suffer the most. Haiti has the highest infant mortality rate in the Americas, 59 out of 1,000 never reach their first birthday. Due to the lack of adequate nutrition, 22 percent are moderately to severely stunted in their physical growth. Approximately 300,000 children endure the afflictions of child slavery.
According to Michael VanHook, Executive Director of the International Strategic Alliances, “The daily mission of the average Haitian child is to find food, clean water, clothing, and to live another day. Today, some will be successful, and some will not.”
Further contributing to Haiti’s misery, several massive catastrophes have ravaged this tiny island nation in recent years. The 2010 earthquake claimed approximately 250,000 lives and displaced over a million people while destroying the center of government. Devastating hurricanes in 2008 and 2017 destroyed homes and food sources, and a cholera epidemic ravaged throughout the countryside in the last decade.
Historically, it has been disdained and ostracized by its neighbors and the international community. In isolation, its people have never known a period of civil justice and economic prosperity.
But our friends in Haiti have hopes and dreams.
James Ferguson, Papa Doc, Baby Doc: Haiti and the Duvaliers
ISA . PO Box 691 . West Chester, OH 45071 . 859.938.9070 firstname.lastname@example.org