The Children of Haiti Project is a nonprofit organization founded through the support of the international school community. It designs, develops, and delivers a progressive education to a specific group of underserved children in Haiti with the mission of creating Haiti’s future leaders.
“Our children are extremely passionate about their education and future. because of that they are being tenacious despite social restrictions, indescribable nationwide violence, a pandemic, and being locked in for the past year and a half. In the face of severe adversity they have the capacity to persevere, and have a discipline to do things better than they did yesterday. They are breathing examples of tenacity.”
- Dominique Pierre, Program Director
Since 2010, under the outstanding leadership of Program Director, Dominique Pierre, the Children of Haiti Project (COHP) has been supporting a program of education, nutrition, and health care for over 145 of the poorest children in Haiti. Thanks to our extraordinary benefactors and great leadership, the children in this program are thriving in their education, personal development, and health. Our major challenge is sustainability.
The school was founded through the support of international schools and its community and institutions around the world. These schools along with The International Educator (TIE), the Principals’ Training Center (PTC), the Kenbe La Foundation, and generous private donors have allowed the program to continue to run. We hope to encourage your continued support as Haiti struggles through its second devasting earthquake in a decade amidst the crippling pandemic.
Special Challenges of 2020
Haiti has been trapped in a cycle of political and economic dysfunction. Lives that were already extremely difficult, if not practically impossible, have become even more so. Years of unrest around the country, coupled with rampant kidnapping, have led to an uncontrolled sense of insecurity and lawlessness that affects us all. These situations have often led to what is called “Pays Lockdown,” or Nation on Lockdown, with people locked in, unable to move. For the past three years, many people have been killed either in the multiple demonstrations against poverty or by famine. A daily mantra heard all over the streets is that “there’s no life anymore, it’s unbearable, we are in agony.” Most schools and hospitals have cut services or closed entirely. Widespread violence and kidnappings have compounded chronic poverty and misery. There has been an exodus of Haitians fleeing the country. The majority who remain are simply trying to figure out where they are going to get their next meals. One of our literacy students, Jerry, made the news recently when he was a victim of unbridled violence, attacked by a mob for no apparent reason. Everyone is susceptible to the violence, regardless of their socioeconomic status. People in despair become violent.
The living conditions of the COHP children continue to be challenging. Most students come from gang-infested areas, living in overcrowded one-room dwellings without toilets, electricity, or running water. The buildings are small concrete or metal shacks, cramped, with often ten to a room.
COHP recently moved to a new locale which helps us keep everything, including dorms, on one property. We provide room and board for our students challenged by food security, personal safety, transport, and home situations, especially during the Coronavirus. In these precarious times this has been a haven for 93% of our students. This translates to a group of 47 students with families in the direst conditions who live on the COHP campus seven days a week in seven dorm rooms and receive additional focused support. During Covid-19 children have been segregated into groups of ten.
After the 2021 Earthquake
The earth shook again…but COHP remained stable. The children were traumatized since the majority lost at least one, if not both parents in the 2010 earthquake. However, the new locale is very secure. It shook, but everyone is safe!
We are still on summer break, which is a more relaxed time at the school. In the last few days, the children have preferred spending time outside, even if it is really hot.
During summer, and especially in the past month of reeling national instability, followed by the earthquake, healthy comfort snacks are available all day. Some of the students take some time relaxing alone with a tv-show to practice their English skills, others like to spend time in the library reading. Mostly, small groups gather to discuss life as they see it at this tender age of transition. The more athletic-minded students take advantage of the morning hours to play outside before the sun gets too hot, sometimes 100 °F these days.
Even during summer break, the eye is on the prize. The students get four hours of TOEFL practice every weekday. Many of them aspire to go to university outside of Haiti. They will have to qualify for entry exams and admission to instituitions in the USA and elsewhere.
Every single student considers themselves to be extremely fortunate to be in this oasis of peace. With your support, we have been successful in offering such an environment to incredibly promising people - Haiti's future leaders.
In order to meet our financial goals, to keep this program intact and to maintain our two rented facilities to run the program, we must raise significant funds every year. A number of international schools, organizations, and interested individuals are donors to this noble cause. Please consider supporting this as a school, organization, or individual for Haiti and for the children.
More information: https://www.childrenofhaitiproject.org/
Donate: COHRP PayPal Donations
Read our full annual report: COHRP Annual Report 2020
Jacqueline played a pivotal role in establishing the original COHP program in 2010 and has since been a pillar of the program. A native of Haiti, Jacqueline’s local knowledge and experience enabled the program to address the real and pressing issues at hand. She continues to lend tremendous support to the program and to its Director.