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Haitian woman in blue t-shirt and hat smiling with baby girl in arms
6 March 2024

Hunger crisis in Haiti

How Child Sponsorship is helping fight hunger and child malnutrition in Haiti

According to the World Food Programme, the number of people experiencing food insecurity in Haiti has tripled since 2016. Today, 4.3 million Haitians do not have enough to eat. 

Haiti is facing numerous political, social and economic issues, in addition to natural disasters, and is heavily dependent on imported food. Many food products are priced 30-77% higher than Latin American and Caribbean countries.   

For children this is having a devastating impact. In Haiti, 66% of children under five are anaemic, while 22% are malnourished and 10% are underweight.

Drought is destroying everything

Lovelie is a single parent living in Haiti. She has two children to care for alone, and, although she has extended family, they are in a similar position themselves. 

“It’s difficult in this country for most people,” she shares. “Because there’s no rain, they can’t plant or garden in order to make some money.” 

“We are witnessing hunger,” says World Vision Programme Supervisor Woodlyne Delvariste. "This hunger is caused by inflation and drought.

“Most people in the community are farmers. In order to take care of themselves, they plant but the gardens are wasted. Drought destroys everything. The sun burns everything.”

Things weren’t always so difficult

Lovelie used to have her own garden. She’d grow vegetables and cook food for her family.  

But without rain, Lovelie’s crops withered and died, and it wasn’t long before her children were going hungry.  

For Lovelie’s baby girl – one-year-old Ecdaline – the food shortages were life-threatening. 

“My baby was ill and spent months at the hospital,” Lovelie says. “She was swollen, she couldn’t sleep. If I didn’t take her to the hospital, I would have lost her. When I started seeing that she’s not normal, I went to the hospital. At the hospital, they kept her because she was already anaemic.” 

Ecdaline spent months in hospital before she was well enough to return home. World Vision then provided Lovelie with protein-rich food supplements to help Ecdaline in her recovery.  

READ MORE: How World Vision combats malnutrition

A woman sits, smiling and holding her baby while a World Vision staff member checks her baby's health
Baby Ecdaline is recovering from anaemia and malnutrition

Hunger puts children’s lives at risk 

Although Ecdaline’s health is improving, child malnutrition is a challenge for Lovelie’s entire community, where food insecurity has increased – in part due to droughts.  

The world has enough nutritious food for everyone, yet hunger is more widespread than ever. And this is leading to increased rates of child malnutrition, leaving millions of children’s health in the balance. 

Across the world, the hunger crisis is putting millions of children’s lives at risk. Without the right kinds of food, their bodies are unable to stay healthy, fight illness, and grow properly.

Supporting single mothers 

Single mothers like Lovelie have such heavy responsibilities, caring for their children while trying to keep a roof over their head, and feed and clothe them. 

In Lovelie’s area, child sponsors are providing support to mothers like Lovelie so they can survive the hunger crisis. 

Mothers’ groups provide education and training in nutrition. Mothers and caregivers are taught the importance of breastfeeding and how to provide a nutritious diet for their children. 

At Lovelie’s group she has also learned how to treat water at home to prevent waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. 

World Vision child sponsors have also partnered with the community to:  

  • provide a water point near Lovelie’s home, so more people can access clean, safe water 
  • install a safe drinking water point, handwashing station and toilets at the school Lovelie’s older daughter attends 
  • help families in the community launch small businesses to earn extra income for the benefit of their children. 

Ecdaline and her sister aren’t sponsored children, but they benefit from the sponsorship of others in their community. 

Discover more about child sponsorship

Sponsoring a child like Ecdaline could protect them from malnutrition

Find out more
A smiling Haitian school girl holds her pink school bag and leans against a wall
Sponsored children like Herncie have access to nutritious food, clean water and so much more!

World Vision’s work in Haiti 

World Vision has been working in Haiti for more than 60 years and is committed to partnering with the people of Haiti for the future of their children, families, and communities.  

We have supported long-term development programmes focused on child wellbeing and community development. We have also provided relief and assisted with recovery from major disasters including hurricanes, flash floods, earthquakes, landslides and droughts. 

World Vision aspires to build back stronger and more resilient communities by prioritising child wellbeing, with a focus on sustainable livelihoods for families, education, health, and child protection.

READ MORE: Interesting facts about Haiti

How Child Sponsorship is helping Haitian communities

World Vision’s Child Sponsorship programme plays a vital role in our partnership with the people of Haiti. Sponsored children have access to nutritious food, clean water, healthcare and educational resources – everything they need to break free from the cycle of poverty and build their own future. 

Through the generosity of donors from around the world, over 42,000 children in Haiti are currently benefitting from child sponsorship. This includes 12-year-old Herncie, who lives with her mum and stepdad. 

Smiling school children in their classroom
Herncie’s sponsor’s words encouraged her to persevere at school

What Herncie says about her sponsor

“She always tells me that if I’m doing something, to never get discouraged, to pursue my education in order to help my family. If I have a project, to never let go, to keep on moving forward. I feel really happy. I am really happy hearing these encouragements to continue on and never give up.” 

Herncie was struggling last year in school. However, her sponsor, Karen, always kept her going.  

“While I was in fifth grade, I didn’t get good grades. I didn’t want to go back to school anymore, because all my friends went on to sixth grade and I had to go back to fifth grade. Then I remembered what Karen told me. She told me to continue with my education and not abandon school so that I could help my family tomorrow.

“Karen has done so many things for me. She has sent me gifts for my birthday and done everything possible to be there for me.” 

It’s clear that Karen is having a positive impact in Herncie’s life and this could make all the difference to Herncie’s future. Meanwhile, her sponsorship is helping not only Herncie but other children in the community access nutritious food, clean water, education and so much more. 

Could you sponsor a child? 

As a children’s charity, World Vision is working with children and families living in some of the hardest places. But Child Sponsorship is making all the difference to the lives of children like Herncie in countries like Nepal, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.

You could be a part of something bigger, creating change and making a long-lasting difference to a child's future. Your sponsorship today could ensure a child has enough nutritious food, that they stay in school, know their rights, and get to follow their dreams. 

Learn more