Thousands of children roam the streets of Port-au-Prince and other island in cities such as Cap Haitien and Gonaives. Every week hundreds of babies and children are abandoned in Haiti shortly after birth. They are left in hospitals, shop doorways, alleys or simply dumped in the street. Haitian mothers feel forced to abandon their infants in order to survive. Many are abandoned because their parents have no means to feed and take care of them.
Haiti has firmly rooted ancient Haitian tradition, intended to help the children of extremely poor families. Many of these parents decide to entrust their children to wealthier families so as to offer them a better future by providing them with an education in exchange for menial chores. The respective parents live under the illusion that their children are being educated, well-kept and have brighter prospects for the future. In reality they have exchanged their children’s safe life for the life of a “restavek” ("stay with" in English). Generally, these “restavek” children are prevented from going to school, are employed as domestic workers in the house, overloaded with chores and are victims of physical and verbal abuse.
As the result of a perceived ‘orphan’ crisis, Haiti saw at least a 150 percent increase in the number of orphanages after the 2010 earthquake, with only 15 percent of orphanages officially registered with the government. Of the 576 orphanages child welfare officials assessed for its 2018 report, 307 were flagged for physical or sexual abuse, according to government documents. More than an ORPHAN crisis, Haiti has an ORPHANAGE crisis.
Our partner organization, Société Chrétienne D'Haiti (SCH), operates an orphanage which is fully licensed by Haiti's Institute du Bien Etre Social et des Recherces (IBESR). SCH's orphanage provides permanent care for true orphans and temporary care for vulnerable children who have at least one living parent and with the goal of ultimate reunification with family.
Children under SCH's care are provided a safe place to live and receive food, clothing, medical care, a Christian based education under the loving care of Christian house moms.