A look at Haiti's childhood

A look at Haiti's childhood

“Childhood has its own ways of seeing, thinking and feeling; there is nothing more foolish than pretending to replace them with ours. ”Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Talk about Haiti's childhood is to enter a world of lack, precariousness and indifference, where infants have not found in the laws a protection. This paradoxical situation alternates with a government that ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and does not have public policies to implement said convention. What causes not to submit reports to the International Monitoring Committee and what is established in the political constitution of that country around children is not respected.


  • 1 The serious problems of education in Haiti
  • 2 Solutions from other countries
  • 3 UNICEF programs for children

The serious problems of education in Haiti

Problems that the government has not been able to solve, since there is legislation that only recognizes children from the marriage bond, while the political constitution provides equal protection for the family. What makes the condition of infants adverse, characterized by problems of civil registration, illiteracy, low rate of access to education, forced labor and abuse. Factors that are exploited by criminal groups that use children to commit their crimes, to which the judicial system responds with imprisonment. In the case of girls prostitution is a normal practice for this culture; Institutions such as orphanages are not controlled by the State, making possible irregularities in the treatment of children.

Well, it seems from all of the above that public policies regarding children are distant in Haiti. Proof of this is the education support program promoted by the World Bank, not fulfilling an unwavering right such as education. Taking into account that people with few financial resources must pay for the education of their sons and daughters in a privatized and degraded school system, which is characterized by abuse, violence and lack of protection for children. The help provided by this entity has not been destined to generate better conditions of access and permanence of children in the public education system, on the contrary, it has been dedicated to endorse the proposal of “Education for All” aiming to finance the cost of school fees and distribution of food for infants enrolled in institutions, which means that the World Bank in complicity with the government and the Ministry of Education have terminated the public education system and concentrate their efforts on a private education system that was in decline before the earthquake.

Solutions from other countries

It should be noted that countries like Chile and Mexico concentrate efforts on promoting an educational public policy that is characterized by a social legacy in strengthening preschool and primary education, effort that was evidenced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chilean government, who in 2009 inaugurated the first kindergartens that a year later would be destroyed by the earthquake. Eight years have passed since this natural event and these efforts have vanished, what these countries have sent in union with other Latin American countries are members of their military forces, rather than professionals in the fields of education, health and science. These factors being essential for the integral development of boys and girls, a situation that reflects the lack of a public health policy that has triggered a exposure to serious diseases among them; tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis C, HIV, drug use and organ trafficking.

In the middle of that chaotic panorama, families see in the Restavek an option to guarantee a better quality of life for your children, this condition is nothing more than a Haitian cultural practice where some families welcome infants as domestic staff, in some cases the children are sent to the Dominican Republic with the hope that they can access an integral education. Without this being a solution, but quite the opposite, a break in the family bond and in some cases the promotion of sexual abuse and abuse.

UNICEF programs for children

With everything and the above the UNICEF has established five programs who have managed to give priority to childhood and adolescence in Haiti, these are:

  1. The health and nutrition program focused on children from 6 years of age, including breastfeeding, vaccines, establishing good eating habits and comprehensive care for childhood diseases.
  2. The adolescent program focuses on birth control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
  3. The comprehensive early childhood education program (or 6 years) will focus on attention and stimulation in low-cost models that promote community-managed initiatives. In the case of children aged 7 to 12, work will be carried out on the creation of welcoming schools, taking into account the quality of education and health, with HIV being a fundamental axis in the formulation of curricula and training of teachers.
  4. The activities of protection program from 0 to 18 years focus on street children, in servitude, orphans, criminals, infected with HIV, victims of natural disasters and all those who were not registered at birth. Activities will include legislative reform, institutional strengthening, the creation of a birth registry, access to health and education services, promotion of a culture of rights and the social integration of the excluded, exploited, violated and abused.
  5. The program for capacity building, monitoring and evaluation It includes indicators based on the rights of children, research and reporting to provide a basis that allows the holders of duties to account for their obligations towards children. It will focus on strengthening the capacity of institutions to plan, manage, monitor and evaluate, the ability of families and communities to respect and protect rights.
  6. The promotion, information, communication and participation program seeks to promote behavioral changes and mobilize civil society allies and governments to collaborate in the fulfillment of rights.

From that dimension, since childhood is a population that is in the process of development and socio-cultural learning. In Haiti, children lack opportunities and essential tools that allow them to evolve, since they internalize the information of the context they inhabit, not making it easier for them to have a vision beyond precariousness. This indicates the importance of the State facilitating and promoting the participation of different social entities, generating empowerment from a cultural diversity that stimulates creative potentials, which leads the subject to be a promoter of their own development.


Nybo, Thomas. (2010). Walking the path of childhood development in Haiti, three months after the earthquake. Retrieved on September 3, 2017 //