Santo is a village located approximatively 15 kilometers from Port-au-Prince, which is the capital of Haiti. In the capital, located in the south of the country, around two million people live in uncertainty and poverty. Port-au-Prince is home to different slum areas, like Cité Soleil, where around 400,000 people live in one of the most dangerous areas of the Western Hemisphere. They suffer from the prevalent social unrest in the country, and the high risk of natural disasters.
Since 1984, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Port-au-Prince-Santo.
The country of Haiti is prone to natural disasters, some of the most devastating ones in recent years were the earthquake of 2010 and 2021, and the hurricane of 2016. These disasters destroy lives, families, and houses, and poor households are often disproportionately more exposed and less resilient to them. The recurring catastrophes are also a major constraint for families trying to escape poverty, in one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Children are most vulnerable to the disasters, with the last earthquake affecting half a million children. They are not able to go to school or receive proper health care, and in worse cases, lose their homes and families.
In recent years, Haiti has been shaken by social unrest. The most recent ones concern fuel shortages and gang violence. Due to political instability, the price of fuel has soared, and supplies are very low. This affects every layer of society, making it impossible for schools and hospitals to operate, and people to move freely. Furthermore, gangs have been terrorizing the population. The physical and gender-based violence, road blockings, and threat of kidnapping that gangs cause accross the city have left many Haitians scared of leaving their houses. Others flee their homes, with 17,000 Haitians being internally displaced in Port-au-Prince. Children especially are scarred for life.