About Haiti |
Haiti was the first independent Latin American country, the site of the first successful slave rebellion, and the first black–led republic in the world after gaining independence from France in 1804. Today, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most underdeveloped in the world. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola and shares a border with the Dominican Republic. French and Haitian Creole are the country’s official languages.
Over 80% of the population lives in abject poverty; more than half exist on less than $1 US dollar a day. With almost 50% of the country’s population under the age of 18, Haiti’s uncertain future lies in the hands of its youth. Unfortunately education and child development remain a distant priority in a place devastated by violence, political corruption and environmental degradation.
Haiti’s public education system is incapable of meeting population demands. Private schools account for 90% of all schools in Haiti, thus excluding a large majority of low-income families. Primary school enrollment rates are less than 50%, while only 15% attend secondary school. Children who can afford to go to school do so under deplorable circumstances.
Haiti’s literacy rate stands at only 52.9%, and the country is lacking skilled professionals. Unless more resources are directed towards educating its 4 million youth, Haiti will only continue to fall behind other developing nations.