In a country where only 2% of the original forest remains, the connection between poverty and deforestation is undeniable. In Haiti, 84% of people live in poverty, with 69% trying to get by on less than $1 a day, and it ranks as the third hungriest country in the world (CIA World Factbook, 2012 Global Hunger Index). The country does not produce enough to feed its own people and has to import 60% of the food it needs (IFAD). Even then, half of Haitian children under age 5 are under-nourished (UNDP).
The world turned its eyes on Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, but the devastation caused by continual hurricanes and other storms often goes unnoticed. Haiti sits in the Atlantic Hurricane Belt, and as a result dangerous storms are commonplace. The increased vulnerability of families, however, does not have to be inevitable.
In partnership with Plant With Purpose, smallholder farming families in Haiti are anchoring the roots of hope both for today and tomorrow. By planting trees and implementing soil conservation methods, they are preventing erosion and ensuring better protection against natural disasters. By using sustainable agriculture methods that restore the land’s fruitfulness, they are increasing their food production and incomes. And by forming Village Savings and Loan Associations, they are creating financial safety nets—a more secure way to save and access loans to invest in farms or businesses and provide for household and emergency needs.
Haiti is often called the “Republic of NGOs”—a place where people have learned to depend on short-term aid—but Plant With Purpose has been focusing on long-term community development. Instead of delivering bags of rice, we’re providing tools and training for self-sufficiency. And that means food for families and hope for the future.
Philidor, Marie Anne, and their seven children live in the hillside community of Kadiso, Haiti. Opportunity for Philidor and his family was limited. “I personally did not have hope that a life in Kadiso was possible,” he shares.
This lack of hope led Philidor to look for a source of income outside of his home community. He was ready to move his family to another town, but then he met a Plant With Purpose staff member who offered training and tools to restore his land to productivity. Philidor gained hope for a better future for his family in Kadiso through instruction in sustainable farming and planting trees.
Philidor owned a plot of land. “It was eroded, exposed, neglected, and finally abandoned,” he explains. “I applied the techniques that I learned. Then I planted trees.” Soon, he was harvesting nearly twice the crop yields he had in prior years.
According to Philidor, something as simple as sustainable farming methods combined with planting trees has made all the difference. He shares, “I earn my living. I keep my life fairly modest and dignified. I’m happy with myself and who I am today.”
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By sponsoring a village for as little as $1 a day, you can make a lasting impact on an entire community as they are given the tools and training to lift themselves out of poverty. Sponsor A Village in Haiti today and change the future for people like Philidor.