Every day, over 30,000 children die of hunger or preventable diseases. Every year, nearly 11 million children die before their fifth birthday. Adequate medical care is unavailable to so many.
There are over 145 million orphaned children around the world who spend an average of over 10 years in a foster home or orphanage. Many countries do not include the “street children” in their reports. Each day there are over 5,800 new orphans. Every year, over 38,000 children “age out” of the statistics with no family to belong to and no place to call home.
It is estimated that over 12.5 million children are orphaned in the Caribbean and Latin America (Unicef 2008).
In Haiti alone, a country of 10 million people, about 43 percent of the country’s population is under the age of 14. A huge percentage of them are orphaned. Malnutrition is rampant. Nearly 50 percent of all children born in Haiti die before they reach the age of 15. Over 40 children die every hour in Haiti which happens to have the highest death rate among children under the age of 5 in the western hemisphere.
Pockets of similar situations exist throughout the Caribbean and in Latin America.
The three largest cities in Haiti are Port Au Prince, Cap Haitien, and Gonaives. Each of them have seaports. Only Gonaives does not have an airport. Port Au Prince as the capital is home to a very centralized government.
Even though the minimum wage is over $3.00, the current average daily wage for Haitians is $1.71. Unemployment in Haiti hovers above 90%. Most Haitiens are self-employed with limited skills and are often sellers of produce or have small roadside stands where they sell various goods from clothes to snacks, to used containers.