Since the 18th century slave revolt which won Haiti its independence as the first black republic, life in Haiti has been marred by continued political instability and armed conflict. Since an armed rebellion in 2004 forced the resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haitians have finally succeeded in inaugurating a democratically elected president and government.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and the statistics that prove it are staggering: 70% of people are unemployed; half of the country’s wealth is held by 1% of its population; 48% of people are illiterate; the average life expectancy is 50 years; and 1 in 5 children will die before they reach their fifth birthday.
The people of Haiti are in great need of the life-changing hope that child sponsorship can bring to their families and communities. You can sponsor a child in Haiti through ActionAid, one of the world's leading relief and development agencies. They have developed a child sponsorship scheme which links people in more affluent countries with individual children in developing countries around the world.
In conjunction with partner organisations, ActionAid has been working with communities in Haiti since 1996 to improve access to basic sanitation, health and education facilities. It has invested in the training of health workers and the provision of health services. It also invests in the improvement of education facilities, and it has championed the need for poor people to know their rights, and to come together to fight for them.
ActionAid supports micro-finance companies that make small loans and credit available to business start-ups. It also works with community organisations to secure legal status for the many Haitians living in neighbouring Dominican Republic, and it lobbies the Haitian government to increase access to basic facilities for its poorest inhabitants.
In the 37 years since its inception, ActionAid has reached many millions people in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and it has developed a wealth of expertise in fighting poverty. The charity partners with local organisations and recognises the need to work with communities on their own terms, and not impose solutions. By getting to know the culture intimately ActionAid workers have the best possible opportunity to affect a lasting end to poverty.
Sponsoring a child in Haiti today will cost you only 50 pence per day. Your money will also go towards development efforts in the town in which the child you sponsor lives. This will ensure the most efficient and effective use of your money.
As a child sponsor you will be able arrange a personal visit with your child and to communicate with them. You can also look forward to receiving special letters and drawings, including a new photograph every two years. Additionally, you get to see where and how your money is being spent by keeping in touch with your child's local ActionAid office, and through regular editions of Common Cause, ActionAid's newsletter.
You may also like to consider sponsoring a child in Haiti through the following trusted agencies: