Even before the earthquake, Haiti suffered from desperate poverty, unemployment and inequality. Our country is the poorest in the Western hemisphere, with four out of five people living below the poverty line. There aren’t enough schools, hospitals or jobs, with unemployment running at 70%.
Just 1% of the population owns almost half the country’s wealth. The vast majority rely on farming to get by, though severe deforestation has left us with poor quality land.
After all we’ve been through, communities in Haiti are strong. We have many local organisations determined to find solutions to the problems they face and transform the country.
ActionAid has been working in Haiti and across the border in the Dominican Republic since 1996. We work with more than 30,000 local people to help them get the services they need, make their voices heard and build a fairer society.
Haitians want a democratic society that respects people’s rights and gives power to local communities.
We work closely with local community groups, providing funding and training to help them get what they need – from clean water and basic health services, to business loans, to having more say in decisions that affect them.
Over half of Haiti’s children don’t go to school. Many grow up illiterate and to turn to begging to survive.
We’re building schools in some of Haiti’s poorest communities, giving children and their parents hope for the future.
Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic
Despite a booming tourist industry, the Dominican Republic also suffers high levels of poverty. Haitian migrant workers and their Dominican-born descendants are among the poorest and most marginalised people in the country.
Many have no legal status, and little access to basic services like education or healthcare. We’re supporting them to challenge discrimination and claim their rights and needs.
“I can’t wait for the new school to open because I want to go to school again. I want to have homework and learn new things.
If I have an education, when I grow up I will be a doctor and help the sick people in our community.”
Eliona Jean-Giles, 11, is one of 300 children in Lascahobas who’ll be getting an education thanks to a new school funded by ActionAid.
Haiti at a glance
- Population: 9.7 million
- GDP per person: US$1200
- Life expectancy: 61 men / 64 women
- Adult literacy: 55% men / 51% women