Luxembourg-based NGO SOS Villages d’Enfants Monde (SOSVEM) has presented its continued humanitarian efforts in Haiti in light of the current political, economic and social crisis.
Recent months have seen Haiti face a serious political, economic and social crisis, which led to large protest movements and violent clashes. Such events have left the country in a situation of paralysis and insecurity reminiscent of the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
As this devastating event approaches its 10th anniversary (12 January), SOSVEM has thanked its donors in Luxembourg, whose generosity has enable the association to support emergency aid as well as the vast reconstruction aid programme that has taken place over almost a decade. Since then, the NGO has remained mobilised to tackle new challenges in the country.
According to the United Nations, 40% of the Haitian population are urgently in need of humanitarian assistance and 3.7 million people are in need of food aid.
Last November, the director of SOS Children's Village Haiti, Celigny Darius, explained that: “SOS Children's Village Haiti has taken measures to ensure the safety and protection of the children and adolescents it takes care of and that SOS collaborators are able to continue doing their work ”, referring particularly to the educational measures and psychosocial support put in place when the schools were closed for months.
Celigny Darius added: "The tremendous surge of donor support has helped meet the immediate needs of the population, but has also brought about lasting changes in the lives of children and families".
The association has opened more than 100 distribution centres which have enabled 24,000 children to daily nutrition. It has also taken care of 500 unaccompanied children and managed to reunite almost half of them with their families, whilst the others joined SOS Children's Villages.
The director also commented that the humanitarian response had been followed by huge reconstruction work with beneficial and lasting effects. The association has rebuilt seven schools and built two new ones, opened ten new community centres and built a third SOS Children's Village in Les Cayes, a town in southwest Haiti.
Presently active in Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haitien and Les Cayes, SOS Children's Villages Haiti supports some 27,000 young people and adults. The association remains mobilised as the living conditions of the most vulnerable children and families are once again undermined by the serious crisis which is shaking one of the world's poorest countries. In 2016, the association also intervened in the south of the country for the victims of Hurricane Matthew and, in 2017, in the northeast of the country following the passage of Hurricane Irma.
Since 2010, thanks to Luxembourg's Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs, the Rotary Clubs of Luxembourg and donors, SOSVEM has raised more than €1 million to support emergency aid and subsequent reconstruction efforts, including the rehabilitation of a community school (for 500 pupils) in Port-au-Prince, the construction of a house within the SOS Children's Village of Les Cayes, the construction of a playground within the SOS Children's Village of Port-au-Prince and the reconstruction of nine public schools (for 7,000 students) in different districts of the capital.