It has now been almost one year since the devastating earthquake hit near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Over 220,000 people were killed by the earthquake, and over a million were left homeless. Many children were left orphaned or on the streets, as their parents died and homes were destroyed. A year on, SOS Children continues to offer extensive services to the affected communities of Haiti, and there are many positive steps being taken to help children and their families.
When the earthquake struck, SOS Children was already there.
We have been present in Haiti since 1978 and have two Children’s
Villages, in Santo (just outside Port-au-Prince) and Cap Haïtien (in the
north of the country), which were already home to more than 400
children. We also have two SOS Youth Homes; two SOS Schools; one SOS
Vocational Training Centre and four SOS Social Centres, from which Family
Strengthening Programmes are run.
Before the earthquake the SOS Children’s Village in Santo was the home to 124 orphaned and abandoned children. After the earthquake the Children’s Village opened its gate to other children in need. Today, 394 children live in the Children’s Village. Each house in the Children’s Village is now the home of an SOS mother and two ‘helpers’ who look after between 15 and 20 children. We have already helped 165 other children who were separated from their parents in the chaos after the earthquake to find their families again.
SOS Children is also helping families outside the Children’s Villages, who are having a difficult time. At the moment we have 16 feeding centres around Port-au-Prince where we give out food to families who need it. In total, these centres now give food to 14,000 children and their families. Each centre is run by a small group of people from the neighbourhood, who know how to best help in their local area. We always make sure to buy the food we give out locally instead of flying it in from other countries. This is a good way to make sure that those who run local shops can make money so that they can support their own families. At some of our centres, we also have nurses who can help if a family member is sick.
One guest room in the Children’s Village has recently been made into a small clinic. There are now three nurses working there, making sure that the children who are not well get the medicine and treatment they need. All the SOS Mothers have also been trained in First Aid. Psychologists are also working in the Children’s Village to help children who are traumatized and need support. The SOS school has taken on an extra 400 children after the earthquake, numbers have risen from 500 to 900. 285 children now go to the SOS nursery in the Children’s Village. Some children also receive an education at the different outreach centres we have across Port-au-Prince.
At SOS Children we are now making plans for our work in Haiti over the next 10-12 years. We are working with the children in the Children’s Villages to make sure that their opinions about what sort of future they would like to see in Haiti are heard.Find out how you can support our work in Haiti by starting an emergency relief sponsorship or start sponsoring now