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Inside the incredible charity: Hope for Haiti

Words by Smiley Team

In January 2022, it had been 12 years since the 2010 earthquake that shook Haiti and brought catastrophe to the island’s people.

Anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 people died – and another 300,000 were injured. 2.5 million Haitians were displaced and nearly 4000 schools were outright damaged or destroyed. 

International aid skyrocketed, with $5.1 billion from the US since 2010, and over $13 billion internationally. Nearly 20,000 NGOs made their way into the country but one, in particular, stood out, Hope for Haiti.

The beginnings of the charity

Hope for Haiti is an organization based out of Naples, Florida founded by JoAnne M. Kuehner.

"As I walked a short distance from where the bus parked to the hotel, a young girl about twelve tugged on my skirt, and, through a translator, said that she would like to go to school and asked if I would pay the fee so she could attend,” Kuehner wrote in her book.

"With a flashback to the baby in the crib and the dead children on the hospital floor, I quickly answered ‘yes.’ … What I didn’t know at the time was that this was the beginning of a love affair for me with a country I hardly knew.”

From then on, she went on to establish Hope for Haiti and devote 30 years of her “time, treasure and talent to helping the poorest of the poor.”

The foundation itself provided a lot of aid in a country where foreign aid has been notoriously mishandled, primarily due to corruption and a “weak presidential system,” according to the National Academy of Public Administration. 

Hope for Haiti, in turn, has become one of the more trusted charity organizations in the world, with a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. It even won a Classy Award for its work in 2020, in which it provided healthcare services to more than 21,000 people and distributed $20 million worth of medication, supplies, and personal protective gear to vulnerable Haitians during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The organization in 2021 alone worked through the assassination of the country’s president in July, a 7.2 earthquake in August, and Tropical storm Grace in August

It has also helped establish some consistency in the country. More than 7,000 students attend school due to Hope for Haiti programs, and they’re working to build more infrastructure to help strengthen learning even more. They have also established a water program called WASH intended to provide clean drinking water to Haitians throughout the country. 

Inspired to act?

FUNDRAISE: In April Hope for Haiti is hosting its third annual Hike for Haiti challenge, and information on the challenge is here.

DONATE: You can also donate to Hope for Haiti directly, here.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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