More than 220,000 people died and over one million were left homeless by the earthquake in Haiti. Our work in the country continues, supporting families to rebuild their lives, and giving a home to children who were left with no one else to care for them. This is the latest update on our work in the country:
SOS Children’s Village Port-au-Prince
Following the earthquake, we provided emergency shelter for 300 children who had no one to care for them in our SOS families and 108 temporary shelters. In the following months, we were able to reunite 185 of those children with their families.
As an after-effect of the quake, many children suffered psychological trauma, including symptoms such as insomnia, a lack of concentration, and hyperactivity. To help the children to come to terms with what they have been through, SOS are running a psychological program assessing each of the children in our Village to identify and meet their needs.
We are currently building a third Children’s Village in Les Cayes in the south of the country which will provide a new home for 135 more children in need.
SOS Youth Home
Before the earthquake, older children from the Village lived together in four youth houses in Port-au-Prince. The earthquake destroyed one of the buildings, and the young people living here were initially forced to take refuge at the Village in their old family houses.
During the past 16 months, we have rebuilt this youth home, and built one more. Now, there are five communities which give a home to 64 young people as they prepare for an independent life.
SOS Social Centre
The SOS Social Centre in Port-au-Prince continues to offer a variety of services to support the local community. The nursery currently cares for 125 children and is open all day, six days a week, offering a variety of activities for the children.
Initially, many children arrived at the nursery after the earthquake suffering from malnutrition. Nurses from the SOS Social Centre ensured that the children received a balanced diet and were given vitamins and proteins to help them return to their correct weight and strength.
Parents of the children who attend the nursery attend a session on parenting skills at the Social Centre every week. They benefit from the training, which helps them to learn skills to care for their children more effectively. They also have the chance to receive professional training in vocational skills such as embroidery and cooking which enables them to work to earn their living and provide for their families financial needs.
During the disaster, SOS gave two hot meals a day to 23,000 Haitian children, in 112 feeding centres in Port-au-Prince. We are still running sixteen centres to help the most vulnerable children around Port-au-Prince. Ten of these feeding centres are gradually being converted into SOS Community Centres which will offer childcare and vocational training for parents in the long-term.
After the earthquake, the SOS School in Port-au-Prince opened three temporary classrooms to provide lessons for an additional 209 children. In March 2011, the tent classrooms were transformed into brand new shelters giving enough space for eight classrooms. Now, the school has 747 pupils and four new teachers have been employed to teach the classes.
The school has a good relationship with the parents of the children who attend. They regularly meet with teachers to ensure that their children are getting a consistent education. Students of all ages achieved excellent results this year.
SOS Children are working to strengthen post-earthquake society in Haiti. We still need Emergency Relief Sponsors to help us to continue to provide these services. You can read more about our work here.