A BETTER FUTURE THROUGH EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING
Haiti Hope House
Haiti, once called the "Pearl of the Antilles", is now simply known as "The Poorest Country in the Western Hemisphere". This has become its identifier, its tag line. Though it is true, it is however painful to hear everyone repeating it without taking the time to find out why it is so. It was not always like this. As the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, P. J. Patterson said: "Haiti did not jump; it was pushed over the precipice." Haiti was a country rich in natural resources, including gold. Haiti is now importing more of what it needs from overseas, and exporting less.
Its people has become its most valuabe resource.
This has spawn a cheap labor opportunity for many
foreign companies that pay about $1 a day to a
readily available pool of workers, mostly women
laboring long hours under sweatshop conditions.
Haiti is a country of majestic mountains,
beautiful valleys, huge caves, and large
expanses of the bluest water in the Caribbeans.
It is a country with natural beauty, a vibrant
culture, gifted and creative artists, and
According to the latest census, the population
of Haiti is about 9 millions people the majority
of which, 60%, is under 35 years old. The women
comprise 51% of the population, and the men,
49%. French and Creole are Haiti's official languages.
Haiti is a Christian country with the Roman Catholic Church being the majority denomination, and Protestant Churches of various denominations being in minority. In recent years, the numbers have changed dramatically with the percentage of Catholics decreasing, and that of Protestants increasing. The vodou religion is also widely practiced, and there is a measure of overlap between professing Catholics and those practicing vodou.
The country is divided into 10 departments, kind of like states without individual governments: North, South, Ouest, N-East, N-Ouest, S-East, Center, Artibonite, Grande-Anse, and Nippes. The departments are divided into Arrondissements (cities) which are divided into Communes (towns) which are divided into Sections Communales (communities). Port-au-Prince is the Capital city. Other major cities include: Cap-Haitien, Gonaives, Cayes, Port-de-Paix, Hinche, Jacmel, Miragoane, Jeremie.
At the time of the earthquake, the population of the metro Port-au-Prince was 1,728,000 people, a density of 73,434 people per square mile. No longer able to support themselves by working the land, the farmers, men and women, flocked to the capital and its suburbs in search of a job in the sweatshops even though the pay was often no more than a meager $1/day and the labor slavelike, in some cases up to 70 hours a week without a day off. This in part explains the reason for so many casualties during the earthquake.