Emergency in Haiti

Already the poorest country in the Americas, Haiti is now in the grip of a rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis. Chaos and terror have enveloped the country, particularly in the capital, Port-au-Prince, which is now almost completely controlled by armed gangs. The prime minister, Ariel Henry, has been forced to resign, the police and army are unable to maintain order or quell the escalating violence and lawlessness.

Many hospitals, health centres, schools, police stations, prisons and other public institutions have been attacked, leaving the country’s already fragile infrastructure in tatters. The country is on the verge of collapse, awaiting the creation of a transition government with no guarantee this will alleviate the crisis.

Displaced child sheltering with group of other displaced people in Haiti
Displaced families sheltering at a disused school in Port-au-Prince. (Photo: Ralph Tedy Erol)

Children and families facing violence and hunger

Haitians are living in fear of their lives, exposed to unimaginable violence. Murders, robberies, rape and kidnappings are rife. According to the U.N.’s World Food Programme, almost 4.5 million Haitians face ‘acute food insecurity‘. With armed gangs in control of major ports and the international airport no longer functioning, basic necessities including food, drinking water, medicines and fuel are harder to find. The plight of the Haitian people is likely to only get worse. Thousands of families are desperately trying to flee the capital and surrounding areas. Over 360,000 Haitians are now displaced and over half of them are children.

NPH helping those in dire need

Our team in Haiti is working tirelessly to ensure the safety of the children in our care and our staff. We are also providing humanitarian aid to desperate families.

  • At our Kenscoff site, away from the violence of the capital, all the children in residential care are safe and the school is open to students from the community.
  • We are offering shelter to many of our staff, as it is too dangerous for them to travel to and from work.
  • St. Damien Hospital in Port-au-Prince is currently fully operational, providing life-saving medical care to those in need when many other hospitals have been forced to close.
  • Our community schools and therapy centres in Tabarre in the capital are closed due to high levels of insecurity. We are providing emergency food kits to families.
  • We are supporting an increasing number of displaced families to flee Port-au-Prince and travel to safer provinces.
Family fleeing home with a few belongings in Haiti
Family fleeing their home in Port-au-Prince after it was attacked by gangs. (Photo: Ralph Tedy Erol)

How you can help


An emergency food kit for a family in need


A 25kg bag of rice and a 25kg bag of beans


Refuge from the violence of Port-au-Prince for a family

NPH day care centre programme benefits single mothers and vulnerable children

Three-year-old Mateo* waves goodbye as his mother, Angelina, leaves him at the Centro de Cuidado Infantil Diario (CCID) La Sagrada Familia day care centre in Guatemala. She will return at 5pm to collect him knowing that he has been well looked after by qualified and caring NPH staff. Angelina receives free childcare five days a week, eight hours a day. This enables her to earn a decent living from regular employment while Mateo benefits from early childhood education.

The La Sagrada Familia day care centre run by NPH Guatemala provides free early childhood education to vulnerable children aged 2 to 4 years old so their parents or carers can go out to work to earn money for their families.
The day care centre provides free early childhood education to vulnerable children aged 2 to 4 years old

Helping parents with childcare so they can work

The CCID programme has operated in Guatemala since 2019 and serves families from disadvantaged backgrounds with very low incomes. Families are selected to participate through social work teams. The day care centre also feeds the children two nutritious meals a day and two snacks, and families receive food donations for evening meals when needed. The children benefit from free healthcare: annual medical check-ups, height and weight monitoring and flu vaccines. Importantly, the centre also identifies children at an early age who may have undiagnosed medical problems or special educational needs and supports them through their journey.

Mateo loves to sing and dance. His teachers at the nursery say that he shows his talents to them and the other children. His teacher, Teresa, recalls that one day he was sitting down during snack time and began to recite a poem and then approached her to say that he performed it for her. Teresa said, “This was a special moment. He said ‘It’s for you, teacher’. It shows me that we are doing the job well. Mateo is a very active and obedient child and very cooperative, fitting in well with the children around him.”

Mateo happily playing outside at NPH Guatemala’s Centro de Cuidada Infantil Diario (CCID) La Sagrada Familia day care centre. He attends five days a week while his mother works full-time, taking part in a variety of educational and recreational activities, as well as receiving nutritional meals and snacks.
Mateo happily playing outside at NPH Guatemala’s day care centre

NPH helps to break the cycle of poverty

According to UNICEF, Guatemala spends only 2.8% of its GDP on education, which is one of the lowest rates in Latin America, and only 40% of primary school leavers read to the expected level. Over 40% of teenagers do not attend school at all, working to support their families, and with no qualifications they only have access to low paid, temporary employment. Half of Guatemalan children suffer from malnutrition, causing lower intelligence and physical problems like illnesses and stunted growth. Families are trapped in a cycle of poverty that is passed down from generation to generation.

Children benefit socially too

Angelina is very grateful that she receives help from NPH: “I have the opportunity to work while my son is cared for by people who love and respect him, people who have been trained to care for him and feed him healthy food.” She added: “As my son was growing up there were no other children and he was very shy. Now I see that the environment has helped him because he has more social skills and has friends.”

Angelina and her son, Mateo, wave at the entrance to NPH Guatemala’s CCID day care centre where he receives free daily childcare so his mother can work and study to help break the cycle of poverty that is passed down from generation to generation in Guatemala.
Angelina and her son, Mateo, wave at the entrance to the day care centre

The programme offers young, vulnerable children early years education and healthy development in a safe and supervised environment. At Christmas time too, no child is left out. When Father Christmas visits the centre every child takes home a gift.

A child at NPH Guatemala’s CCID day care centre receives a gift from Father Christmas.
A child at NPH Guatemala’s CCID day care centre receives a gift from Father Christmas

*Privacy note

Children’s names, marked with an asterisk, have been changed to protect their privacy.

Giving back what she received: young teacher raised by NPH

Mirlanda* was only three years old when she started kindergarten at the NPH Haiti school for vulnerable children. Today, she is a confident and educated young woman who works as a teacher in the school, thanks to NPH programmes investing in her future.

School teacher at NPH Haiti
Mirlanda’s story shows the difference NPH can make to children’s lives

Tough beginnings

Haiti is the most poverty-stricken country in Latin America and the Caribbean, with 80% of the population living below the poverty line. Many children are vulnerable: maltreated, abandoned and suffering from lack of healthcare and malnutrition. The area Mirlanda lives and works in is currently under the control of armed gangs.

Her NPH mentor explains: “The current challenge for this young woman is to fight for a place in society with all the socio-political difficulties at present. She finds that day by day things are getting more complicated here in Haiti.”

Despite the economic and political situation in Haiti, NPH programmes, both residential and in the community, continue to operate to help children who live there.

Raised by the NPH family

Mirlanda was one of the lucky ones – she had a place in St. Helene, one of NPH Haiti’s residential homes in the mountains and grew up there exposed to all the development opportunities that they could offer her. It has both a primary and secondary school on-site, as well as a pre-school, farm and other amenities, which serve the 430 children who live there, as well as 350 children who come to school from the local communities.

“My name is Mirlanda. I am a young beneficiary of the programmes of NPH Haiti,” she explains, “I grew up in St. Helene, joining at a very young age where I was offered health, education and all kinds of leisure. Throughout my stay in St. Helene, I lived a very beautiful experience and learned to share, love and better understand others.”

Young female teacher addressing the children in her class who are sitting at wooden desks facing each other.
Mirlanda teaching her class

Giving back

“Now, I am a university student, thanks to the support of all our donors,” she continues, “Today, I work as a teacher at the NPH school, bringing my contribution to education, all this thanks to your support. On behalf of each of our children, a big thanks to all our sponsors. Thank you for allowing them to realise their dreams.”

Young teacher stands surrounded by children from her class who are smiling, fidgeting and laughing.
Mirlanda loves to teach and combines studying for a university degree with working in the NPH school

*Privacy note: Children’s names, marked with an asterisk, have been changed to protect their privacy.