Great Haitian charities to support (and those to avoid!)
Franklin in Kabik, Jacmel
Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen
Whether you’re donating from a distance or only able to visit the project site briefly, it’s difficult to see what is - or isn’t - happening with your support. Here is a list of charities to avoid and charities you can support in good faith.
Don't be misled
Recognisable charity names can be assuring, but sometimes the biggest and most established organisations are the ones with the worst track record of squandering donations to cover inflated administration costs and failing to effectively turn your dollars into genuine, on-ground change.
Over the last decade, many have seen Haiti as a destination for altruism, travelling here to volunteer or donating to charities in the hope of supporting Haitian communities recover from the tragic 2010 earthquake. Despite the best of intentions from most of the people involved, hundreds of millions of donated dollars were mismanaged.
After warnings from the Haitian community, an investigation led by ProPublica and NPR discovered the American Red Cross grossly misrepresented its work in Haiti, betraying the trust of well-meaning donors and preventing desperately-need funds from flowing to local organisations who could have used it more effectively. Trust in ARC and foreign aid more broadly has, understandably, been shaken.
So who can you trust? Which charities are credible? Are there any on-ground volunteer projects where visitors here for just a short time can genuinely help?
Boys on bikes, Marigot
Photo: Franck Fontain
Nine charity organizations doing amazing work
Nine local associations and organizations doing amazing work in Haiti that you can fully support in good faith.
Fondasyon Konesans Ak Libète (Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty) known as FOKAL is a Haitian foundation established in 1995. FOKAL supports smallholder farmers associations, grassroots women’s organizations and small local ethical enterprises that are true first responders on the ground as well as the best agents to strengthen grassroots network, self-care communities, local advocacy and economic recovery.
Read more at www.fokal.org
Nos Petits Frères et Sœurs
A humanitarian association in Port-au-Prince, Nos Petits Frères et Sœurs runs three homes for children who are either abandoned or at-risk: Kay St. Simon and Kay St. Anne in Tabarre, and Kay St. Helene in Kenscoff. In these homes, children are able to grow up in tightly knit, loving communities and attend the association’s schools - the FWAL kindergarten school in Tabarre and the St. Helene school in Kenscoff, which also serves kids from low-income families in the area.
Read more at www.nospetitsfreresetsoeurs.org
Grown in Haiti
Operating from the mountains of Jacmel, Grown in Haiti is spearheading sustainable, community-based reforestation efforts. Deforestation is linked to local poverty, so supporting reforestation efforts is an effective way to provide a gift that keeps on giving.
Folks who would like to support have the option of donating via the Grown in Haiti website. On site, motivated volunteers are welcome to help with the upkeep of plant nurseries, and building long-term shared community skills. It’s a great way to experience the south of Haiti while contributing to a worthy cause.
Get involved at www.growninhaiti.com
Located in Clercine, Haiti Communitere is a community resource center that assists both small local and international organizations by providing the resources, support, and working models that they may need. Haiti Communitere itself has created and run projects spanning a variety of fields, from language to sexual health; its main focus is to enable grassroots projects to take foot and grow in a country that does not always allow for them to do so.
Get involved at haiti.communitere.org
Haiti Ocean Project
Haiti Ocean Project operates from Petite-Rivière-de-Nippes, in the Nippes department. The organization specializes in preservation and protection of marine life— everything from sea turtles, to sharks, to rays. Being based in both Petite Rivière and Grand Boucan, Haiti Ocean Project also works in educating the communities of those areas on the importance of preserving marine life and of sustainable fishing.
Learn more at haitioceanproject.com
Groupe de Support Contre le Cancer (GSCC)
GSCC is a non-profit cancer support group located in Turgeau. Its focus is on awareness and prevention of the different types of cancer that Haitians are susceptible to, as well as working with cancer patients and their families. GSCC conducts activities with the Haitian branch of Rotary International and awareness talks with other organizations, as well as standalone events.
Follow GSCC on Facebook
Pou Bèl Ayiti
Pou Bèl Ayiti is an environmental organization whose focus is on protecting Haiti's green pastures, and on educating children on the importance of keeping the streets of Haiti clean. Through cleaning days, collaborations with schools, and partnerships with businesses working in the field of waste transformation, Pou Bèl Ayiti works directly with Haitian youth to awaken the instinct to preserve the land on which it lives.
Follow Pou Bèl Ayiti on Facebook
For the Kids
Led by Yendy Cavé in Port-au-Prince, For the Kids is an organization that works to improve the daily lives of orphans in Haiti. The best way to keep track of the organization’s activities is through its Instagram profile. Every year, For the Kids organizes toy drives, end-of-year celebrations, blood drives, summer camps and more, all over the country.
Read more at www.forthekidsofhaiti.com
CREPHA manufactures prostheses and orthoses for adult and child amputees. Using a vulnerability scale, the organization runs free mobile clinics to assess patients and eases the cost of the prosthesis for those in need. Because most prostheses and orthoses are given away at no cost to those in need, the organization relies almost entirely on donations.
Follow CREPHA on Facebook
One of the best ways to help Haiti? Visit!
If you get the chance to visit Haiti and learn more about the situation here, you’ll be in an even better position to make informed decisions about how you want to contribute.
Keep in mind that the ethical tourism dollar can be a very effective way to donate directly to local communities. The cost of living in Haiti is low enough that you can afford to eat, sleep, relax and adventure well and tip locals generously, all without breaking the budget.
Experts see tourism as a sustainable way to provide resilient livelihoods for developing economies, and this is especially true in Haiti where the influx of tourism spending is enabling the country to invest in the infrastructure it needs to fully recover from the 2010 earthquake. Where international aid has largely failed, an international holiday can make a surprising difference.
Right now, one of the best ways you can contribute to the development of this fiercely independent nation is to come here for yourself. Enjoy the beaches, the carnivals, the creole cuisine and the Caribbean vibes. Tip where appropriate, and look out for the non-profits doing work we can all be proud to support.
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