Why Haiti

Here at Haven, we are committed to empowering the people of Haiti to build strong, sustainable livelihoods.

Haiti remains one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.  Today, 2.5 million people in the country – a quarter of its population – continue to experience extreme poverty, living with under $1.25 a day.  77% of people do not have access to improved sanitation facilities, 40% are unemployed and 30% face difficulties in meeting their basic food needs.

There are numerous factors which have contributed to this over time.  For years, Haiti has endured political turmoil, civic and social unrest, and international sanctions, as well as frequently confronting severe environmental adversities – particularly hurricanes – which cause widespread damage.

Moved by these challenges when first visiting Haiti while on business over ten years ago, our founders, Leslie and Carmel Buckley, established our organisation in 2008.  In Leslie’s words, “What I witnessed in Haiti changed my outlook on life… Though I have travelled to many poor parts of the world, I had never witnessed the poverty, desperation and pure despair that I saw in Haiti”.

However, the 7.5 magnitude earthquake which struck Haiti on 12 January 2010 quickly escalated these challenges, killing over 217,000 people and leaving 2.1 million people homeless.  Just two years later, Hurricane Sandy caused further devastation, and left over another 200,000 people without a home.

In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew – the most powerful hurricane to strike the country in over fifty years – hit Haiti, leaving more than 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian aid.

This small country has gone through more challenges than we could ever imagine, but, at Haven, we firmly believe that, together, we can overcome them.  Focusing on sustainable community development, we aim to build a secure, independent future for Haiti with its people.

Every day, our projects and training courses are creating sustainable social enterprise, strengthening skills and education, and empowering families to live free from poverty.  One by one, and hand in hand, we are overcoming the challenges that Haiti has withstood, committed to instilling real and very positive change.

We are making great progress towards our goal, but there is further still to go.

Click the link to find out more about the challenges facing Haiti in our 2016 Haiti Factsheet.