Stories from change-makers in Haiti

Barbara Angeline Sandelyne
Youth Leader In Haiti Barbara
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbara was away at university.
"The day I learned that the virus was in Haiti, I was coming back from university," Barbara recalled. “The first thing that came to my mind was: What if my grandmother and aunt were infected? What would I do?"

After confirmation of the first two cases of COVID-19 in Haiti by health authorities in March, all schools and universities were closed. The COVID-19 pandemic has only added to Haiti’s hardships, where six million people already live below the poverty line. With schools closed, 300,000 children are missing daily school meals, putting them at risk of stunted growth.

“This situation is really overwhelming," Barbara admits. "Even if you have a plan or goals, you can’t really reach them. It’s like you are no longer sure of yourself, what you have planned, what you want to become.”

In response to the pandemic, Plan has constructed handwashing stations, educated communities on the importance of good hygiene practices and distributed hygiene and food kits. We’re also working to protect girls, who are among the most vulnerable during a crisis, by working against harmful practices like child marriage, trafficking and gender-based violence.

As assistant secretary of Plan International’s Youth Advisory Council, Barbara has received training on leadership and community participation. “The times we live in are extremely difficult and sensitive. Our needs should be considered, including our sexual and reproductive health and psychological support. Children experiencing this kind of situation for the first time need more help. They need this virus to be explained to them, to be told about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on their lives as well than on their families.”
Make an immediate impact for girls in need
Sponsored Girl In Haiti Angeline Speaking
Growing up, Angeline’s family didn’t talk about puberty, menstruation or sex.
These topics are considered taboo by many in Haiti. Girls often have no idea what is happening to them when they get their period. The first time it happens, many think they are ill or even dying.

An essential component of our health programs is ensuring that girls and young women realize their rights to sexual and reproductive health, including access to information, education and services. At a Plan International training session conducted by nurses at a health center nearby, Angeline and her classmates learned about the risks of unprotected sex, and how to manage their health while menstruating. Parents also attend training sessions, where they learn about the importance of speaking openly with their daughters about these issues.

"This is not the first time I have heard about these matters, but this is the first time I have good information," Angeline said. “Unfortunately, I was not given this information either by my family or at my school."
Learn more about how we’re fighting period stigma
Sponsored Girls In Haiti School Collecting Water
Sandelyne doesn’t like being late for school, but it’s something that used to happen often.
"Before going to school, we need to collect water to take back home" she said. "The nearest water source was quite far from my home and sometimes we had to go several times each day so the household has enough water while we are away."

In Haiti, girls are typically the ones responsible for gathering water. The burden of collecting water falls on girls in Haiti. Not only does the long journey take hours each day, it is also dangerous, with risks of injury and assault along the way.

Access to clean and safe water is crucial to child and community development. Plan educates communities on the importance of clean water and provides water points to hundreds of thousands of households every year. In December 2018, Sandelyne’s life was transformed when a new clean drinking water supply system was built in her community. A water management committee comprised of local residents ensure the water system is maintained and repairs are carried out when required.

Although Sandelyne still bears the responsibility of collecting water for her family, she no longer has to walk long distances to get to the nearest water supply. With three water points conveniently located in the community, she can get to one quickly. "I’m very happy, one of the three water points is close to my house, so now I can get to school on time."
Read about the powerful ripple effect of clean water

Plan International has been working to improve children’s lives in Haiti since 1973.

Our work in Haiti

Sponsored Child In Haiti
Office & operations

Plan Haiti’s project offices are located in Port-Au-Prince, Ouest, Sud-Est and Nord-Est.

Technical areas

Plan Haiti focuses on the following program areas: education, health, gender equality, humanitarian response and protection.

Number of sponsored children

As of June 30, 2022, people like you sponsor 17,911 children in Haiti through Plan International.

Why sponsor with Plan?

Gender equality is a fight we must all take on together. Through sponsorship, you can change lives and create long-term impact in communities.

The full circle of Fate

When you sponsor a child through Plan, you form an incredible friendship.

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But that’s just the beginning. With Plan, you also have the unique opportunity to:

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Send them birthday gifts and cards.

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Give them special holiday presents called Little Treasures.

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Subscribe them to Plan’s educational kids’ magazine, Sunny Days.

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Arrange a visit (pending any travel restrictions), with individual travel assistance from us.

Each gift offering is safely hand-delivered by us, and given to your child with personalized cards from you. It’s likely that the child you sponsor will have never seen anything like these gifts, and with the exception of Little Treasures they’re available year-round to make the bond between you and your sponsored child even stronger.

Meet a child to sponsor