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The Children's Villages in Santo, near Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien are home to children from Haiti who face some of the poorest conditions in the world. SOS Children's Villages has been working here since 1982 and has also provided aid during natural disasters occurring in Haiti … more about our charity work in Haiti

Haiti two years on: Raising awareness of children’s rights in Haiti

Children demonstrate their right to freedom of speech
Children demonstrate their right to freedom of speech

Human rights apply for everyone and everywhere. However, in practice, children are particularly vulnerable to violation of their rights. This is often the case in the aftermath of disasters, and the situation in Haiti following the earthquake nearly two years ago was no different. By raising awareness of the rights they should expect, SOS Children are empowering children to protect themselves.

The theory and the practice of child rights in Haiti are separated by a wide gap. While a vast number of humanitarian organisations are working in the country, reports of severe violations of children‘s rights are still occurring.

Under 14s make up 38 percent of Haiti‘s population, and a first step in strengthening child rights in the country is to raise awareness about the existence and importance of those rights amongst this age group. In June 2011, SOS Children launched a child rights campaign at the SOS School in Santo, where over 1,000 children receive an education. Teachers planned a variety of interactive activities to involve the children in learning about their human rights.

Students chose one of their basic rights and decided how best to visualise their chosen right for a photo, next to a speech bubble spelling out their right. The students then acted and presented their rights to the rest of their classmates.

Students were very creative in their interpretations of child rights. For instance, “the right to liberty“, was represented by a boy rolling down the schoolyard on a self-made skateboard, spreading his arms like wings.

Photos from the activities were later presented to the rest of the pupils in the school, to enable them to learn from the event too. “I saw some children closely observing the pictures and the text underneath“, says Bettina Reiter, who planned the project together with the teachers.

SOS Children are now planning further activities to explain to children how they can make sure they enjoy their human rights in their lives. In addition, we are providing parents, families, teachers and communities with more information about how to provide an appropriate environment for children to grow up in.

In the immediate aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, SOS Children stepped up to provide Emergency Relief for children and families most affected. Now, nearly two years on from the disaster, read how we are contributing to Haiti’s long-term recovery.

How you can help

Every day we help children whose lives have been damaged by natural disasters, conflict, poverty, or disease. Please consider making a one-off or regular donation. You will be part of helping children grow up with the security, love, and respect that they need. Thank you.