History of HaitiChildren
HaitiChildren began in 1994 when Susie Krabacher made her first trip to Haiti and began helping the people of Cite Soleil (read more in Susie’s book Angels of a Lower Flight click here). Today, HaitiChildren has grown to care for over 5,000 people.
Who We Are
HaitiChildren is a Haitian-registered, non-profit organization that provides care and education to abandoned, orphaned and disabled children in Haiti. In our 20-year history, we have cared for Haiti’s most vulnerable children and established a reputation for excellence in our comprehensive and community-based programming.
HaitiChildren rescues the abused, abandoned and disabled and provides them with care, rehabilitation, education, hope and opportunity. HaitiChildren has developed systems and procedures that create a healthy environment and work to bring about systemic and lasting solutions for this overlooked population. Our skilled staff nurses these children to health, provide food, shelter and education, and most importantly, provide a loving environment that builds character and integrity.
HaitiChildren believes that the best way to address Haiti’s overarching social and political problems is from within. Change will only be sustainable if economic and social behaviors are altered to ensure better outcomes for the next generation of Haitians. The organization is striving to equip Haitian children with the tools to solve their national issues and bring social and economic stability and democracy to their country.
HaitiChildren does not believe in removing children from their native country and their community. We do not participate in or facilitate adoptions. Rather, our care philosophy is to provide essential services to children at risk in Haiti and give them a life of hope, healing and possibility.
HaitiChildren has grown organically to meet the needs of the population it serves. For example, when children in our care facilities needed schooling, HaitiChildren began to teach classes at a building on the facility’s original site in Port-au-Prince. It was evident that the surrounding community also needed quality schooling, while at the same time, HaitiChildren needed the approval and support of the community in order to remain a secure and safe place for staff and children. To address that imperative, HaitiChildren expanded its services and opened the John Branchizio School that today teaches 510 children in primary and secondary classes.
HaitiChildren works primarily in the areas around Port-au-Prince and the Cap-Haitian and Arcahaie areas in the north. Since the earthquake, the focus of our operations has been our Williamson campus, a 17-acre tract of land owned by HaitiChildren and located approximately 40 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince. The campus includes three residential care buildings (orphanages), two school buildings, and a chapel building with office space, a generator building, a guard tower and security gate with perimeter security walls and two water wells. We have a 10,000 gallon per day water filtration system that services the community.
Our chapel building is a 6,000 square foot structure that is fully solar powered and is a perfect space for retrofitting as a rehabilitation center, trade school, or training facility. HaitiChildren also operates two other schools one in Port-au-Prince and the other in Cite Soleil. HaitiChildren also runs seven nutrition programs in Paulette, Phaeton, Cite Soleil, Cazeau, and three at our Williamson campus. We currently serve over 5,000 children: 319 children in our three care facilities and school on the Williamson campus, 1200+ students at the John Branchizio and Cite Soleil schools combined, and 6,000 children and elderly, many of them blind, through our nutrition programs and clinics.
Today, HaitiChildren employs over 200 Haitian nationals in jobs such as, teachers, doctors, nurses, therapists, “mothers” (continuous child care), building engineers, accountants, cooks, and cleaning staff.
The impact on the lives of the children in our program and the Haitians we employ is dramatic and deep-in many cases the difference between life and death, and in others, the difference between a life of poverty and a life of promise.
HaitiChildren has developed systems, procedures, and evaluation measures for all areas of our operations. Each service area includes an orientation and training segment for new employees. In our care facilities, for example, each child is evaluated with the goal of assessing his or her needs and then developing a care plan that will allow the child to become as independent and self-sufficient as possible within his or her own limitations. Our approach includes:
- taking a history of the child-to the extent possible
- performing triage to determine the child’s physical and psychological ailments
- determining strategies appropriate to each child for improving their health and well-being
- needs-assessment and grouping children by needs
- assigning specific caregivers
- developing alternative paths for life skills training and education based on children’s physical and mental capabilities
- inculcating moral and religious values as part of a child’s psychological and social growth
- teaching every child to integrate handicapped children into his/her world view and daily routine
Our Over-arching Objective
HaitiChildren’s niche is the care of abandoned, disabled and orphaned children from birth to 18 years of age. Our operations have garnered worldwide attention and praise for the care we provide special needs children. Our over-arching objective is to expand care to more children around the country and to ensure sustainability of services for abandoned and disabled children. To reach that goal, we must disseminate our programs and help other non-governmental organizations along with Haitian government entities improve their existing programs and begin new ones.