An extract from our children’s brochure:


Haiti is situated on the Hispaniola island. Haiti lies in the west of the Island and the East belongs to the Dominican Republic. Hispaniola is in the Caribbean. The name of the country comes from the language of the Taínos, the natives of Hispaniola, and means “mountainous country”. The highest mountain, Pic de la Selle (2.674 m above sea level), is located in the South East of the country in Sierra de Bahoruco. There are also wide plains between the mountain ranges, for example the North coast. Once the land was covered by rainforest, but now it’s almost completely deforested.

Today’s population of around 10 million inhabitants of Haiti are mainly of African origins, because they arrived in the 18th century to Haiti from Africa as enslaved people. They speak Creole, a type of African French. The official languages are French and Creole. Only a minority of around 10 percent speak French, however, and in the poorer regions of the country almost no one speaks it.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. More than 50 percent of the whole population live below the absolute poverty line. These people have less than 1,90 Dollar per day to live on. Years of dictators, mismanagement, corruption and natural catastrophes like earthquakes, droughts and floods have brought Haiti into this situation.

Many Haitian’s work in agriculture. They farm above all for their own family and sell small surpluses on the market. Coffee, mangoes, pineapples, avocado, cacao, cane sugar, rice corn and sorghum millet are cultivated.

But life in agriculture in Haiti is very difficult, because overuse of the land has led to a loss in fertile soil and deforestation during rainfall washes away the soil. Many people try to find their luck in the capital. But life is not easier there. The unemployment levels lie at around 50 percent. Many Haitians emigrate. They hope to find work, for example, in the neighbouring country of the Dominican Republic. However, they have to live illegally there and get exploited and treated badly.

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Children don’t have it easy in Haiti. Many families live in poverty and don’t have enough to eat. They often live in very simple huts, in the poor neighbourhoods that continue to grow around the capital Port-au-Prince.

Many children can also not go to school. Although it is officially compulsory to go to school in Haiti, every child that wants to go must pay money for it. Many of the poorest families can not afford that. Instead the children must also help out and already begin earning money. They work as domestic servants (Restavecs), on fields, sell small goods by the roadside or go begging.

25 % of all children can never go to a primary school and around 75 % of all youth do not attend secondary school. Because of this, there are many people in Haiti that can not read or write. Amongst the adults the figure is around 51 percent, and amongst the young people it is still around 30 percent.

But children in Haiti naturally also love to play. As soon as someone can find a ball, football is played. Old tires are rolled in front of them and there are many competitions with marbles.

A typical meal in Haiti is Diri ak pwa, rice with red beans. If the family has enough money, they will also have meat (chicken) or fish with it. The favourite foods of many Haitian children are the Mayi Moulen, a type of corn porridge, Bonne Bouillie, a porridge made of flour, sugar, milk and cinnamon or Bannann Peze, fried plantains.

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