Although situated on the crystal blue water of the beautiful Caribbean, Haiti’s story reads like that of a country drowning in a humanitarian tsunami.
A series of devastating blows
In July 2021, an unknown assassin killed Haiti’s president.
Then in August, a massive earthquake erupted in Port-au-Prince.
In September, the U.S. government began deporting over 14,000 migrants to Haiti, thousands who had not even lived in Haiti for years.
Then in mid-December, a fuel tanker overturned and exploded. The fire killed dozens and severely burned countless people and homes.
In addition, the country has been in a downward spiral of crisis defined by gang violence, political turmoil, food insecurity, gas shortages, and a never-ending barrage of natural disasters. “Rape, murder, thefts, armed attacks, kidnappings continue to be committed daily, on populations often left to fend for themselves in disadvantaged and marginalized neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince and beyond.” 1
Interview with Bright Hope staff in Haiti
I recently interviewed a member of Bright Hope’s field staff in Haiti. In this interview, Jonah G. paints a heart-wrenching picture of life in Haiti.
“It’s been over five years since we’ve had a week without tragic news. Mistrust is everywhere, frustration is everywhere, even hope has disappeared because of the chaos in governance and generalized corruption. There is no end of the tunnel. Faced with the misery and insecurity that is setting in, the vast majority of people dream only of migrating out of the country to escape what they think is hell.”
Some NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have relocated their Haitian offices or even pulled their people out of Haiti. God has kept the Bright Hope staff safe. Our team in Haiti is not immune to fear, violence, disaster, or uncertainty. Some issues touch people no matter where they are in the country.
“My strength and my peace of mind come from my faith in God,” Jonah testified. “By studying the Bible, I can easily understand the causes of the wickedness of man as well as the evolution that our world will take at the end of time. I have trust in my God because his promises are certain and true, he never abandons his children.”
We are thankful that most of Bright Hope’s work takes place away from the worst violence. Yet there is nowhere in Haiti that is untouched by the devastation.
“Not all problems affect all areas in the same way. It’s worse in Port-au-Prince than anywhere else. However, the whole country is on its knees due to the economic slump, corruption, lack of public services, and environmental problems. As a people, everyone suffers, even when not everyone is reached at the same level. The Haitians are all united in their soul. Bad news affects everyone…the problem of governance affects everyone (Haitians), whether you are in Haiti or abroad,” Jonah reported.
Haiti needs our attention.
According to the U.S. Department of State, “The United States is the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Haiti, helping to meet the needs of the most vulnerable Haitians through health care, shelter, food, nutrition, water/sanitation, protection, and other relief.” 2
If you want to help, there are many organizations that provide help and hope to Haiti, Bright Hope included. I suggest you start with a Google search. When you find an organization that shares your passion, be sure to check it out on a charity watchdog site such as Charity Navigator before you donate any money. To be certain your money is well stewarded, contribute to an organization rated at least a three by Charity Navigator. (To learn more about choosing an organization to support, read our blog Should I Trust the Nonprofits I Give to: A Formula for Organizational trust.)
According to Jonah, “the best way to help the Haitian people is by investing in the education and training of people:
- The very young must be able to study without constraints (food, standard supplies, teachers).
- Young people must be able to acquire adequate vocational/university training.
- Society needs to be educated at all levels.”
Also, do not underestimate the power of prayer. As Billy Graham said, “To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.” Bright Hope has a downloadable 7-day prayer guide you can use when praying for the extreme poor. However, if you want to pray more specifically for Haiti, check out Bright Hope’s prayer wall.
“The best prayer we can pray for Haiti is to ask God to raise up in us a generation of enlightened, responsible, patriotic, and integrated leaders while breaking the yoke of international policies that are unfavorable to the cause of the Haitian people,” – Jonah G.
Whatever you do, please do not close your eyes to this country in crisis. They need our help, prayers, and advocacy.