How do you tell a mom whose child hasn’t eaten in days that due to the violence, work is closed, and she won’t be paid for the day? How do you tell a child he/she cannot go to school today because men with large guns block the road between home and school, which are only 15 yards apart? How do you tell a young man he must go to school hungry when he knows full well that if he joins a gang, he will be paid and can feed himself and his family too? How does a family find $10,000 or $50,000, or $100,000 (or more) to pay the ransom and get a loved one released from captivity?
As we reflect on the tumultuous stretch from the end of 2022 to the beginning of 2023, it’s clear that Haitians faced an increasingly tough reality. The streets were marked by escalating gang violence, roadblocks, passionate protests, and simply unbearable living conditions. This turmoil even delayed the school year’s start until late 2022, leaving families with the agonizing choice of sending their kids to school amidst danger or keeping them safe at home.
Things reached a boiling point in April and May 2023, with gunshots ringing out across the country and law enforcement unable to provide much relief. People were even scared to venture out, even short distances, to buy essential goods. After pleading for international assistance, the people decided to take matters into their own hands, launching the “Bwa Kale” movement. We’ll spare you the gruesome and horrific details of this movement, but it did manage to push the gangs back temporarily, letting a fragile sense of normalcy return.
Yet, amidst these tough times, glimmers of hope persist, showcasing the sheer determination of the Haitian people. Navigating this storm has required Chances for Children to get creative, sometimes at a higher cost than anticipated. But it’s the unwavering support of our incredible donors that’s kept us going, allowing us to stand by Haiti’s children and families during these challenging moments.
In the face of unyielding hardships, Chances for Children has continued to work tirelessly to make a difference. In just the first half of 2023, we’ve been able to provide essential aid to the people and communities we serve. We have distributed food to over 7,000 kids every single month, provided 640 children access to education they might not have had otherwise, and reached over 1,100 children with medical care. The dedication of our Haitian staff has been commendable. It has been almost a year since we’ve had any of our American staff on the ground, but our operations haven’t missed a step. While Haiti’s struggles persist, so does Chances for Children’s mission.
To support this work and stand alongside the resilient people of Haiti, we invite you to make a donation today.