Save the Children Races to Children & Families

Jul 25, 2011

The Disaster’s Impact on Save the Children

Susan Warner / Save the Children
Susan Warner / Save the Children

The earthquake had a profound impact for Save the Children, which has worked continuously in Haiti since 1978.  On the afternoon of the disaster, we had approximately 160 national and international staff conducting development programs in health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, education, child protection and emergency relief during Haiti’s frequent floods and storms. The urgent needs created by the earthquake required Save the Children to quickly initiate what became our largest humanitarian aid mission to date in the Western Hemisphere. By June 2010, there were some 1,200 staff, the vast majority of whom were working on relief and recovery programs.

As of June 2011, our Haitian staff numbered 757. While some will be leaving the agency as grant-funded programs end, there will be approximately 430 national and international staff at the end of this year—more than double the number prior to the earthquake.

Save the Children’s reach has also grown.  In 2009, some 1.6 million Haitians directly or indirectly benefited from our work. In 2010, with much of our attention focused on the earthquake, we reached 2.1 million children and adults through earthquake relief; relief for those affected by a late-season tropical storm; responses to the cholera epidemic; and through development programs that were restarted. We are also now in the second year of a five-year earthquake recovery initiative focusing on education, health, nutrition and child protection to benefit 1 million children and adults. 

With more staff in place, Save the Children seeks to take advantage of this opportunity and provide training to improve the effectiveness of our programs and the required support services and increasingly nationalize our workforce.  This not only addresses the very real needs of our Haitian staff today in terms of building their skills and leadership, but reflects Save the Children’s global commitment to sustainability, local participation and the long-term development of civil societies by creating talent pools of trained and skilled national staff wherever we work.


Apr 18, 2011

Quality Education and Safer Schools in Haiti

Raising the quality of education and constructing safer schools for Haiti's children are at the center of Save the Children's plans for creating lasting change.

The Institut Abellard in Léogâne is a model of innovative construction techniques that make the school structure more hurricane and earthquake-resistant and therefore safer for the children who learn within its walls.  This school is the first of its kind and serves as an example of best practices of design and construction.  The techniques have been studied by both private builders and non-governmental organizations as a prototype for building other schools around the country.

Attached please find Save the Children's most recent report on education and school construction programs in Haiti.


Jan 7, 2011

Haiti’s Children One Year Later: A Country at a Crossroads

One year after the historic Haitian earthquake, Save the Children is grateful to our global donors for their compassion and generosity in supporting the organization’s immediate relief and recovery efforts for Haitian children and their families. From the in-country teams to Save the Children staff around the world, we are thankful for your support and desire to help the people of Haiti. Your contributions have enabled Save the Children to mount and now sustain the largest humanitarian aid response in the Western Hemisphere in the agency’s 91-year history.

Below please find a link to Save the Children’s report, Haiti’s Children One Year Later: A Country at a Crossroads.


Dec 2, 2010

Update on Save the Children's programs in Haiti

Haiti: Gaston Margron camp
Haiti: Gaston Margron camp

Since the epic earthquake in Haiti, Save the Children has worked nonstop to alleviate children’s suffering and ensure their well-being.

  • In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, nearly 490 children who were separated from their families were provided with family tracing, reunification, or mediation support.
  • Nearly 10,000 children have attended Child Friendly Spaces, where they could play, learn, and develop in a protective environment.
  • Over 43,440 children are learning in temporary classrooms.
  • Nearly 31,250 children and members of their families received tents, plastic sheeting, shelter kits and other non-food items to set up temporary shelters.
  • Young children are regularly screened and treated for malnourishment.
  • We are combating the spread of cholera in camps of earthquake-displaced families.

Rachelle’s story: Haiti

In the ”baby tent,” established by Save the Children in Leogane, Haiti, one-month-old infant twins and their mother, Rachelle, have a quiet and safe place to breastfeed, an oasis from the crowded camp outside. “It’s my first time here, and I am hoping to receive some advice for taking care of my babies,” said Rachelle. “I am not getting enough to eat and I need support as these are my first children.” In addition to providing a protected place, the tents serve as a center for breastfeeding support groups as many mothers are having difficulty feeding their infants since the quake. Tent staff also monitor and treat children with acute malnutrition. 

As in any emergency, infants and young children are the most vulnerable survivors of the disaster in Haiti. Breastfeeding is an affordable and vital way to help keep them alive and healthy.

Rachelle:  Leogane, Haiti
Rachelle: Leogane, Haiti


Sep 1, 2010

Taking Education Forward in Haiti

"Ecole Eddy Pascal Takes Education Forward"

Ecole Eddy Pascal was a cornerstone of the local community in Carrefour, Haiti, for over 25 years. Housed in an imposing three-story building, Ecole Eddy Pascal offered elementary and secondary school, classes for adults and a cultural club for the community. But the facility collapsed on January 12, and the school director, Eddy Pascal himself, began searching for a way to start over.

"The first thing we did was ask parents what they had and what they could contribute," he said. "But then Save the Children arrived and gave us exactly what we needed."

Soon there were tents for classrooms, blackboards, equipment and supplies. Children received school kits including a backpack, notebooks and writing utensils. Save the Children has also been training the teachers on how to help children cope with the emotional stress children have suffered from the earthquake. In addition, teachers are coached on how to handle aftershocks that might occur during school hours, making them better prepared to respond in an emergency situation.

"I'm very happy for the opportunity to participate in the trainings," says teacher Jean-Joab. "Psychologically we are much more prepared now."

Jean-Joab hopes the children will be able to move forward despite the suffering they have experienced and the challenges they continue to face. He continues, "I want the children to be able to live their lives with the tools they gain here so that education is practical for their lives. I am much more patient now. We have just come out of a nightmare."

"Making a Home for the School: Cash-for-Work and Education Working Together"

When the January 12 earthquake completely destroyed the Ecole Mixte Etzer Vilaire des Orangers in Jacmel, Haiti, School Director Joseph Constant was devastated. The remnants of the foundation are the only evidence the school ever even existed. Fortunately school had ended by the time the earthquake hit, and no one was hurt. "I thought there was no way school could continue," Mr. Constant explains, "but I knew we had to find a way to prevent the children from slipping in their studies. So now we have a friendship with Save the Children."

In addition to clearing an area for a temporary school through a cash-for-work program, Save the Children provided tents, benches, blackboards, and a school kit for children including a backpack, writing utensils and a workbook. Local community members who were engaged in the cash-for-work program also set up the tents and cleared the rubble from the former school location. They are now working to prepare the new school site.

Participants in the cash-for-work program are local community members who were affected by the earthquake, some of whom had lost their home or their livelihood in the disaster. The program also specifically supports people with three or more children and women who are heads of household.

The students are thrilled to be back in classes. "School is important because we need to learn," exclaims the first grade class almost in unison. "It's important to know how to write so that we can spell our names," adds 7-year-old Woudline. Each student in the first grade class has a goal: they want to "work the land" or "build houses" or "be a nurse."

Twelve-year-old Monise states in a serious tone, "After school I'm going to work so that I can help my mother." The school had 127 students prior to the earthquake. To date, 92 students have returned. Many others have left the area as families migrated to other regions or children who had been in the care of a relative returned to parents' homes. Mr. Constant is hopeful that school attendance will continue to grow as they move into their new, permanent location. "Education is the key to freedom," Mr. Constant declares. "Both the school and Save the Children know it is our duty to educate children. To work in education is a matter of the heart."

Save the Children has been working in Haiti since 1978 and had numerous education projects in place prior to the earthquake. Since January 12, education programming has expanded to include over 270 schools that are now benefitting from tents, tarpaulins, equipment, supplies, school kits and/or teacher training. Save the Children plans to provide access to school for more than 160,000 children in Haiti.

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Project Leader

Megan McLain

Manager, Corporate Partnerships
Westport, CT United States

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