Pestel Village a community development initiative of Help One Now – serves as a children’s home for orphaned and vulnerable children in the mountains of Haiti’s southern peninsula.
It will also serve as a community hub, investing in future generations through education and development.
As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 77% of its 10 million people living below the poverty line, Haiti struggles to take care of its most vulnerable population. In 2008, there was an estimated 440,000 true orphans (those without both parents) in the country of Haiti. After the devastating earthquake of 2010, estimates exceeded 500,000. Today, it is difficult to determine the true number of orphans in Haiti. Many other factors contribute to at risk children in Haiti. Parents may not be able to take care of their children because of social, cultural, economic, and/or related health issues. These at risk children are vulnerable to sex trafficking and child labor both in Haiti and across the border in the Dominican Republic. In fact, the 2013 Trafficking In Persons Report states that there are an estimated 150,000 – 500,000 Haitian children living in domestic servitude, subject to forced labor, beatings, sexual assault and other abuses.
There is a significant range of at risk children in Haiti. The children of Ferrier Village generally fall into two categories: those children vulnerable to serving as domestic servants in households, an arrangement commonly known as restavèk (literally, “living with”); and children trafficked for sex and labor across the border into the Dominican Republic. Since Ferrier is a border city, it is a prime location to rescue children in these vulnerable situations.
Population: 10.7 million (35.9% under the age of 15) (World Bank, 2015)
Area: 10,715 sq mi
Year of Independence: 1804
PEOPLE IN HAITI
- Haiti’s adult literacy rate is 48.7%. Youth literacy rates are at 72.5%
- Roughly 30% of children attending primary school will not make it to third grade; 60% will quit school before the sixth grade (Haiti Partners, 2016).
- 63 year life expectancy
- Infant mortality: 55 per 1000 births,
- Estimated 130,000 people living with HIV.
- Only 55.2 percent of the population has access to an improved water source (The Water Project, 2016);
POVERTY IN HAITI
Pop. Living In Poverty: More than 6 million out of 10.4 million (59%) Haitians live under the national poverty line of US$ 2.42 per day and over 2.5 million (24%) live under the national extreme poverty line of US$1.23 per day.
Orphan Pop.: 430,000 (have lost one or both parents due to all causes). Approximately 110,000 children (ages 0-17) orphaned due to AIDS. (UNAIDS, 2016)
HIGH RISKS IN HAITI
- Estimated 150,000 – 500,000 children living in domestic servitude, or Restavek (subject to forced labor, beatings, sexual assault and other abuses)g.
- 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report
Pestel is the hometown of Pastor Gaétan Alcégaire. He returned late last year for the first time in nearly 30 years. What he found was not the same thriving community he had once known as a child. His people were in need of help, and he rose to meet them. Gaétan has since started a children’s home, to care for the orphaned and vulnerable children of the community. They are provided with 24/7 care as well as given proper nutrition and education. Gaétan is also in the process of building a school that will be open to the entire community, giving hope for a better future to all.
In 2010, a devastating earthquake hit the country of Haiti, leaving nearly 300,000 dead and 1.5 million displaced. It is estimated that after the earthquake, the number of orphans in the country rose to over 500,000. The after effects of the quake have continued to ripple and plague the country. Much of Haiti’s trade and export completely disappeared, as there was a negative stigma and fear of products coming out of the country. Haitian coffee farmers took a hard hit. Haiti was known for decades as a premier supplier of the Caribbean “Blue Mountain” coffee, similar to that of the neighboring island of Jamaica. But after the earthquake, Haitian coffee lost its prestige and export came to a halt. This left thousands of coffee farmers and workers without jobs or the ability to care for their families. Pestel is located in a remote mountain area of Haiti’s southern peninsula. It is mostly cut off from major cities and was completely reliant on the coffee trade for its survival. There is still some market for small crops, such as potatoes and bananas, but it is mostly local and does not bring in enough for a family to survive.
Our hope is that through proper care and education, the cycle of poverty will be broken for the children of Pestel. Rooted in deep friendship and partnership with local leader Gaétan Alcégaire, we are working together to ensure that these children can grow and lead healthy lives that will one day enact change and development in their community. We will work alongside our leader to achieve his goals of improving the quality of education and school facilities in this community.
In the fall of 2016, Hurricane Matthew struck the south of Haiti, devastating many coastal and mountain communities, including Pestel. The children’s home was completely destroyed, and just about every tree in sight lay bare. We have worked with Pastor Gaétan to help rebuild homes in the community, as well as provide clean-water filters to those that did not have access. Pastor was able to get the children out of the home before it collapsed, and brought them to Yahve Shamma for safety and care. They have been enrolled at Williamson Adrian Academy and have fit right in with the Yahve Shamma family. They will remain there until a solution is created for a better and safer living situation in Pestel.
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THE LOCAL LEADER
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