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In Haiti

Country update

This video was released in July 2022.
If you've been inspired to sponsor a child from Haiti, visit our sponsorship page.

Pray for Haiti

Pray with us for:

God’s presence with vulnerable children waiting to find a sponsor

Wisdom and strength for those in positions of leadership in Haiti

Abundant provision for church partners supporting families in need

Did you know?

Haiti’s mountain peaks reach over 8,000 feet, and Haiti comes from the word Ayiti meaning ‘Land of Mountains’. This name was given by the original inhabitants of the island, the Taino people.

Sponsor a child in Haiti

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Life in Haiti

Official Country Name: Republic of Haiti

Capital City: Port-au-Prince

Population: More than 11.6 million

Official Languages: French, Haitian Creole

Life expectancy: Male 60 years, female 66 years

Population with access to safe drinking water: 91%

Infant mortality rate: 45 deaths / 1,000 live births

Percentage of children under the age of 5 underweight: 9.5%

Adult literacy rate: Male 65%, female 58%

Religion: Approximately 52% of the population are Protestants and Seventh-day Adventists, 35% are Catholics , 2% practice Voodoo, and 11 % are of another/unspecified religion or none.

Percentage living on less than $2.15 a day: 29.2%

Source: CIA World Factbook, World Bank and 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom by the Office of International Religious Freedom, U.S Department of State

La Isla Española, later known as Hispaniola, was originally inhabited by Tainos Indians. Within three decades of European arrival in 1492, the Tainos deteriorated rapidly from disease and forced labour. Gradually, Spanish interest in Hispaniola declined as gold and silver were discovered elsewhere.

By the late 17th century, France gained control over the western third of the island and called their colony St. Domingue. The settlement became extremely lucrative, importing up to 40,000 Africans per year to work as slaves on the profitable sugar plantations.

St. Domingue was producing 60% of the world's coffee by the mid-18th century, which required even more slave labour. Those forced to work as slaves endured deplorable conditions. It is estimated that one in five died within the first three years of arriving in Haiti, while the average life expectancy for someone enslaved was 21 years.

In 1791, following the French Revolution, those enslaved in Haiti started a 12-year rebellion. Guerrillas were led by a former slave named Toussaint L'Ouverture, who was eventually arrested by Napoleon's French army in 1801. The French were fully defeated in 1803, and Haiti declared independence in 1804.

Between 1843 and 1915, only one head of state served his full term out of 22 leaders. The rest were assassinated or forced into exile. The US sent troops in 1915 and occupied Haiti until 1934, forcing labour in groups called corvée (reminiscent of slavery).

Francois Devalier, known as Doc Devalier, was elected in 1957. He reigned with brutality, exploiting the population's belief in Vodou, and creating a police force called Tonton Macoutes. He left power to his 19-year-old son Jean Claude Duvalier, nicknamed "Baby Doc". Years of corrupt government and political upheaval continue to plague Haiti.

In 2010, a tragic 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, killing 230,000. Haiti has since experienced devastating hurricanes and natural disasters and the economy continues to struggle, amidst political unrest remains.

Haitian artists make beautiful artwork out of objects that are destined to be discarded, such as old tin, which they cut into scenes of birds and flowers. Woodcarving and painting are also popular.

Haitian music has both a French and African influences, along with Spanish styles brought over from its neighbour, the Dominican Republic. American jazz has also influenced Haiti. The national dance is the méringue (similar to the Dominican version).

Although both French and Haitian Creole are official languages in Haiti, French is often considered the language of the educated and Creole the language of the poorer, rural communities.
French: Bonjour (Hello), Comment-allez vous? (How are you?), Je m'appelle... (My name is...) Creole: Bonjou (Hi), Kòman ou ye? (How are you?), Mwen rele... (My name is...)

Sports and Games
Football is played year-round, and you’ll often find children using make shift balls created from whatever they can find. Kites are popular, especially at Easter time. Children also like to play many versions of hide-and-seek.

Typical Foods
Haitians eat rice, beans, corn and bananas. Coffee is a popular drink.

The typical school year runs from September to June. Primary education is compulsory, but families must cover the cost. Most schools in the country are run by religious and not for profit organisations and do charge a small fee. When you add to this the cost of transport, books, and the mandatory uniform, many Haitians just can’t afford to send their children to school.

Children in Haiti often work from a young age and some families from rural communities send their children to live and work for wealthier families in the city. These children are known as, restavèks – a Creole word that literally means ‘to stay with’. While many families believe they are sending their children to a better life, in reality, children are denied basic rights to health and education and treated like slaves.

In addition to the many challenges already faced by children in Haiti, recent earthquakes have further exacerbated the problem as schools collapsed, leaving children with nowhere to go.



Approximately 52% of the population are Protestants and Seventh-day Adventists, 35% are Catholics , 2% practice Voodoo, and 11 % are of another/unspecified religion or none.
Citizens are free to practice the faith of their choice. However, the government signed a concordat with the Pope that gives the Vatican authority to approve a specific number of bishops in the country with government consent. Under the agreement, the government provides a monthly income to Catholic priests. Catholic and Episcopalian bishops and leaders of the Protestant Federation all carry diplomatic passports.
Religious institutions must register with the Bureau of Worship to receive government benefits, but there is no penalty for non-registration. The Ministry of Justice authorises registered religious leaders to issue official civil documents, such as marriage and baptismal certificates.
Foreign missionaries are free to operate in the country under the same legal and administrative requirements as their domestic counterparts.
Many schools and hospitals across the country are run by church organisations and subject to government oversight. There are also a number of religious radio stations, most of which are Protestant.
Statistics from the the International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2022 by the Office of International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State

Providing support in Haiti

When her husband died in an accident, Délivrance was left grief-stricken with four young children to raise. She had limited resources, and yet she had armed herself with courage and managed to start a small cloth

Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.