Founded in 1975, Caritas Haiti is a social organisation whose mission is to build a fairer and more supportive society. The National Office coordinates diocesan Caritas which operate throughout Haiti, its administrative team and around 4,000 volunteers who are members of parish Caritas.
Haiti is facing many challenges and trying to rebuild after the violent earthquake that devastated one third of its territory in January 2010.
Caritas Haiti is involved in accompanying communities so that they can play a key role in their own development. All its programmes and sub-programmes are aimed at specifically organised audiences: women’s groups, planters, irrigation committees, credit groups, solidarity credit unions, mothers’ clubs, etc.
The main areas of operation currently include: risk and disaster management, agriculture and the environment, institutional capacity building, water and sanitation, solidarity economy, gender equality, infrastructure and housing, health and nutrition.
Emergency humanitarian aid: building the capacity of populations to deal with emergency situations, and development of prevention and intervention systems;
Community development: building capacity and local organisations;
Promotion of women’s rights: encouraging women to participate in development activities, improvement of their education, skills development regarding representation and organisation;
Agriculture: support to agricultural organisations with a view to maximising production and income, improvement of environmental management, and construction and renovation of irrigation systems;
Financial assistance: promotion of a stable economy by developing production capacities and offering funding and microcredit plans to help the poorest get out of the poverty trap;
Healthcare: improvement of access to health services, access to high-quality medical care, and implementation of training regarding health and sanitation systems.
Caritas Haiti’s partners include:
Caritas Italy, Caritas Brazil, Caritas Spain, Trocaire (Caritas Ireland), Caritas Belgium, Caritas Norway, Caritas Puerto Rico, Development and Peace (Caritas Canada), Caritas Ecuador, Caritas Seoul, Caritas Internationalis, Caritas of Latin America and the Caribbean (SELACC), Caritas Germany, Caritas France, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Caritas Switzerland, Caritas Australia, Caritas Slovakia, Caritas Argentina, Caritas Peru, Misereor, Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development Aid (CORDAID), Caritas England and Wales (CAFOD), Linda Vista Centre, Caritas Scotland (SCIAF), Caritas Dominican Republic.
Hurricane Matthew is battering the Caribbean nation with high winds, heavy rains and storm surges. The government has declared a state of red alert. “The effect of the hurricane in the south of Haiti is catastrophic,” said Fr Jean-Hervé François, director of Caritas Haiti.
On 12 January 2010, an earthquake devastated Haiti. In less than one minute, almost half of the homes in Port-au-Prince and its surroundings were reduced to dust. An outpouring of generosity by Catholics worldwide meant that Caritas could both respond to immediate needs and rebuild for the long term.
Catholic Relief Services (a US member of the Caritas confederation) has been working in Haiti for 50 years. The morning after the 12th January 2010 earthquake, CRS staff members who had lived through the disaster themselves were aiding survivors.