HBC - Haiti


Haiti, whose citizens were formally known as Taino Amerindians who inhabited the island of Hispaniola when it was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 were virtually annihilated by Spanish settlers within 25 years. In the early 17th century, the French established a presence on Hispaniola. In 1697, Spain ceded to the French the western third of the island, which later became Haiti. The French colony, based on forestry and sugar-related industries, became one of the wealthiest in the Caribbean but only through the heavy importation of African slaves and considerable environmental degradation. In the late 18th century, Haiti's nearly half million slaves revolted under Toussaint L'ouverture. After a prolonged struggle, Haiti became the first Black Republic to declare independence in 1804.

Unfortunately, as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has been plagued by political violence for most of its history. After an armed rebellion led to the forced resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004, an interim government took office to organize new elections under the auspices of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Continued violence and technical delays prompted repeated postponements, but Haiti finally did inaugurate a democratically elected president and parliament in May of 2006.

In January 2012, a massive magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti with an epicenter about 15 km southwest of the capital, Port-au-Prince. An estimated 2 million people lived within the zone of heavy to moderate structural damage. The earthquake was assessed as the worst in this region over the last 200 years and massive international assistance will be required to help the country recover.

Haiti is located in the Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic with a population of 9,801,664. According the the CIA's Country Profile, Haiti's age population is as follows:

  • 0-14 years: 35.9% (male 1,748,677/female 1,742,199)
  • 15-64 years: 60.1% (male 2,898,251/female 2,947,272)
  • 65 years and over: 3.9% (male 170,584/female 212,949) (2011 est.)

Immediately following the massive Earthquake in January 2010, HBC CEO Evans took a trip to the country to conduct an assessment of assistance the organization could provide. HBC signed an International Memorandum of Agreement with Steeve Laguerre, Executive Director of SEROvie, an HIV/AIDS focused organization to allow the organization to utilize its relationship and 501(c)3 IRS status to identify grants and resources that could be routed through HBC to them.

Should you be interested in knowing more about our work in Haiti or be interested in partnering with us on projects and/or initiatives; please don't hesitate to contact us at your convenience. We will be conducting a resource mobilization campaign to collect toiletries, medical supplies, and donations to take to Haiti in Fall 2012.