Save the Children has worked in Haiti since 1978. As night fell on January 12, 2010, we initiated the largest relief and recovery effort in our history in the Western Hemisphere.
Haiti presented—and still presents—a challenging environment for Save the Children and others addressing the needs of those who were impacted by the earthquake. We recognize that there has been criticism directed toward the international aid community periodically since the disaster. We constantly monitor our programs to ensure that they provide the maximum benefit possible to children and families, and that our donors’ funding has been spent well, and has resulted in positive changes. We are prepared to sustain our commitment to Haitian children and their families through the end of our multi-year strategy and then beyond.
Backed by the generosity of our donors, we have reached over 1 million Haitian children and adults through earthquake relief and recovery programs. We have sheltered families; provided access to lifesaving health and water and sanitary services; have helped protect children from exploitation; and have helped re-open schools and make them better able to withstand disasters. When cholera raged—and the disease remains a serious threat to the health of every Haitian—Save the Children supplied hospitals with medicine, opened cholera treatment units and raised awareness of cholera prevention.
We initiated a multi-year recovery and development strategy. Today, we continue to concentrate our expertise in three program areas where we can make the greatest impact for children and their still-vulnerable families: health and nutrition, education and child protection. We are working from the ground up – beginning with children, parents, schools, communities and local groups – to build their capacity and resiliency and, wherever possible, strengthen our government partners and transition programs and services to them. By empowering Haitians to identify needs and take action, we are setting the stage for durable solutions for a country with limited government infrastructure.