Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

In key step toward normalcy, classes begin in Haiti

By Jacqueline Charles and Trenton Daniel, Miami Herald Some schools in Port-au-Prince have re-opened — the latest sign the region is finding a semblance of normalcy. PORT-AU-PRINCE — Some arrived in brightly colored uniforms, others in street clothes without book bags. After weeks of idle time, sleeping in tents or damaged homes, thousands of eager students returned to school Monday as Haitian authorities officially resumed the start of classes in this quake-battered capital. “Everything’s different,” said Conrad Martin, 14. “All my study habits are different.” Martin awoke at 5:30 a.m., two hours earlier than usual to get to Collège Catts Pressoir, a private school in the middle-class neighborhood of Bourdon. His home in Canape Vert was destroyed, and he and his parents now live in cramped quarters with his older sister. The Haitian government has made relaunching schools one of […]

Haiti’s Children Still Face Problems

By Jennifer Glasse   Photo: AP Adeline Lhau, center, has her hair combed by Nadia Moranie at a makeshift camp for earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 29 Mar 2010 UNICEF’s head of child protection says nearly three months after the earthquake that devastated the country, many challenges remain for children in Haiti. Even before the January earthquake that devastated the tiny Caribbean nation of Haiti, the country’s children were living in difficult circumstances. Child Protection official, Aaron Greenberg, of the U.N. children’s agency says the statistics are shocking. “Estimates of 50,000 children, prior to the earthquake, in residential care,” Greenberg said. “In orphanages or residential care, not only the numbers, but the degree of un-regulation, the lack of regulation of those services.” Greenberg says the children in Haitian orphanages were not necessarily orphans – defined as a child who had […]

Red Cross under fire! Where’s the money for Haiti?

By Amadi Ajamu, San Francisco Bay View As the Haitian people brace themselves for the hurricane and rainy season with no shelter and no supplies for millions, the United States, France, Canada and other nations are attending the United Nations Donors Conference on Wednesday, March 31. At the conference, these wealthy nations will “donate” funds to over 3,000 non-governmental organizations, most of them headquartered in their own countries. They are in effect paying themselves. The American Red Cross has already admitted to financing its own debt with donations given for Haiti relief. According to its official report on the first two months since the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, they collected over $354 million for Haiti but have spent only $106 million. Yet only half of the 1.3 million people made homeless by the quake have even a tarp as the […]

A Haiti fit for its children and young people

From UNICEF On the eve of an international donor’s conference for Haiti at the United Nations, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages International, Plan International, World Vision International, Oxfam and UNICEF have stressed the importance of ensuring children, young people and their families are at the centre of all rebuilding efforts. Haitian children and young people aged 5 to 24 shared their views on issues affecting them such as gender, disabilities, violence and abuse, disaster risk reduction, and their own rights and responsibilities post-earthquake as their country emerges from recent earthquakes at a series of focus group discussions held  throughout the country between 26 February and 5 March. Humanitarian organizations working on children’s issues maintain that providing Haiti’s youngest citizens with a strong voice in the discussion around the future of their country and enabling them to actively participate in […]

Haiti’s Restavèk Children: The Child Servitude Crisis

By Marian Wright Edelman, Huffington Post The recent earthquake in Haiti gave the rest of the world a glimpse of a form of child suffering that often goes unseen. When a group of American missionaries were accused of child trafficking, many people were confused by the story that unfolded. How could parents have been desperate enough to agree to simply give their children away to strangers? Sadly, this wasn’t just an isolated event that only happened because of the earthquake. Thousands of poor Haitian parents send their children away to live with strangers every year, desperately entrusting them to people who tell the parents they will help provide their children with a better life. But not all of these children are transferred to well-meaning caregivers who plan to give them an education or help them find adoptive families. Instead, many […]

Charity warns of dangers facing children in Haiti

From The Guardian Save the Children says risk to health ‘extremely serious’ as country struggles to recover from earthquake Aid is distributed to Haitian earthquake survivors. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images Children have been badly affected by the earthquake that brought devastation to Haiti in January. Save the Children says an estimated 1 million children have become separated from their parents or lost one or both parents. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, with one in 13 children dying before their fifth birthday and 9% suffering from acute under-nutrition. Save the Children said the risk to children’s health is “extremely serious”. “Children are the most vulnerable when disease starts to spread, and the sanitation situation in many of the makeshift settlements is a secondary disaster waiting to happen,” it said in a statement. “An increase in diarrhoea, scabies […]

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