Haiti: three years on
11 January 2013
The devastation caused by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Three years ago, the small nation of Haiti was brought to the world's attention by a devastating earthquake. It left 300,000 dead, one million homeless and mass destruction in its wake.
Plan International launched an emergency response to provide immediate relief, reaching thousands of people struck by the devastation.
Now, three years on, we are turning our focus to long-term development to ensure children and their families in Haiti have secure and sustainable futures.
Since 2010 we have:
- assisted more than 31,000 children to return to school;
- built 314 classrooms which are earthquake and hurricane resistant;
- provided psycho-social support to more than 12,000 children, including through child-friendly spaces;
- involved more than 36,000 people in cash-for-work programs;
- reached more than 400,000 people through our emergency cholera response work.
Our work in Haiti will now focus on equal education for all, ensuring the participation of girls in society, birth registration for every baby, and health education to combat cholera and other common diseases.
"The road to recovery will be a long one but Plan International is here for the long haul. We must ensure the country is not forgotten and we will do all possible to continue to help the people of Haiti recover and rebuild," said CEO of Plan International, Nigel Chapman.
Children learn at an after school club at a Plan-supported child-friendly space in Haiti.
Other issues remain for the country such as the reconstruction of government buildings and access to land for Haitians to rebuild their homes.
Ensuring children are safe, stimulated and emotionally stable in the aftermath of a disaster is just as important as making sure they have the basics to survive, like food.
Didine, a Plan sponsored child, was 14 years old when the powerful earthquake of 2010 shook Haiti. She thought the world was collapsing around her.
Her family escaped unhurt but their home suffered heavy damage. Like thousands of affected children, Didine needed access to food, water and shelter – but she also urgently needed emotional support. She received it in a Plan-supported child-friendly space, which provided a refuge in the midst of chaos.
Plan staff believed that music could play an important role in helping to stabilise the children, and so they established a partnership with a local music school to provide music courses.
Before the earthquake, Didine had dreamed of one day learning the violin. The music course offered by Plan not only provided Didine with a stimulating distraction from the devastation around her, it also helped her on her way to becoming a violinist. She has been learning to play for six months now.
"Before the earthquake, one of my goals was to be able to play violin in front of a large audience which would be glad to listen to my music," she said.
That finally happened in June when she played in public for the first time at the close of a music camp, organised by Dessaix Baptiste.
"I'm very proud of myself. And it's nice to express myself and realise my dream," she says.
Learn more about Plan's work in Haiti.