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If you’re like most people, the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Haiti” is “earthquake,” as in the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the tiny island nation on January 12, 2010, devastating its capital, Port-au-Prince.
Today, although the country remains in crisis, the world community has grown deaf to the cries of the Haitian people, many of whom remain displaced from their homes and lacking in the essentials we take for granted. To summarize Haiti’s plight, consider these numbers:
According to The World Factbook, even before the earthquake Haiti was already “the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with 80% of the population living below the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty,” living on less than $2 a day
Nine out of ten adults are either unemployed or “under-employed.” Just think about that for a moment; ponder that fact and consider the implications. Mind-boggling, isn’t it?
More than two-thirds of the labour force does not have formal jobs
Life expectancy for Haitians is only 51 years
80% of Haitians are functionally illiterate. That means four out of five people living in Haiti lack the ability to read or write well enough to cope in most jobs or everyday situations. That’s why education is so important!
42% of the population is under the age of 15
Poverty has forced 225,000 Haitian children to work as ‘restavecs’ (unpaid household servants), something the UN considers to be a modern-day form of slavery
Haiti’s 9.8 million people live in an area about half the size of Nova Scotia