Update: Chalice’s Haiti Site in the Eye of Hurricane Matthew

Oct. 20/16 - In our fall newsletter we shared the story of Sylvane Luissant. Sylvane and her family of 10 live in Roseaux, southern Haiti. Like many families across Haiti, Sylvane’s family lived in less than ideal conditions. Her home was falling apart and the roof and walls no longer kept out the rain. Thanks to the generous donations of Chalice supporters, Sylvane’s family, like over a hundred others in Haiti, was chosen to receive a new home through the Houses for Haiti program. Haiti South director Sister Merilise shared the joy and pride Sylvane had about her new home, and the home, combined with the sponsorship of her daughter Widelaine, meant a considerable improvement in the family’s lives.

On October 4th, Hurricane Matthew passed over southwestern Haiti. Roseaux, like many communities in southern Haiti, suffered severe damage as a result of the hurricane. The category 4 storm brought high wind and torrential rain to southern Haiti destroying crops, killing livestock, uprooting trees, and nearly destroying entire towns. Over 80% of the buildings in the town of Jeremie were destroyed including homes, schools, and medical facilities.

After the storm had passed, Sister Merilise stopped by Sylvane’s home to see if everyone was alright. We were relieved to hear that Sylvane and her family made it through the storm and that their home was still standing. A fallen tree caused significant damage to the roof, but otherwise Sylvane’s home survived the storm. In the coming weeks, Chalice will provide assistance to repair or replace roofs damaged by Hurricane Matthew. We will also be proceeding with our Homes for Haiti phase in the town of Jeremie.

Thank you for your prayers & continued support of our work in Haiti.

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Learn More About Haiti

Chalice Sponsor a Child in Haiti
Haiti Fact Sheet:

  • Chalice has been working in Haiti since 1997.
  • Chalice works to ensure our sponsored children are able to go to school and get an education. We support their education and development with nutrition programs and medical care.
  • 2,603 children are sponsored through Chalice in Haiti including 1,224 in Haiti South.
  • The UN estimates that 1.4 million Haitians require urgent assistance.
  • According to Sister Merilise at our Haiti South Site, the most immediate needs are food, water, and medical aid.
  • The most urgent threat facing Haiti is the resurgence of cholera caused by contaminated drinking water.
  • After the 2010 earthquake, Chalice supporters generously donated over $17,000 for water purification tablets and sanitized portable water systems to fight cholera. Chalice supporters also provided nearly $300,000 in disaster relief funding to build homes and classrooms and repair damaged schools, a community centre, and a nursery.
  • Through Disaster Relief and its Homes for Haiti Program, Chalice has built 140 houses in Haiti. These houses are made of concrete and the walls and foundations withstood hurricane winds and falling trees. Many of the roofs were damaged or torn off, and Chalice will provide assistance to repair or replace damaged roofs. The next phase of the Homes for Haiti Program was to be in the town of Jeremie and this will continue as planned.

About Haiti

Vibrant and beautiful, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Approximately 80% of Haitians live below the poverty line. Deforestation and frequent natural disasters threaten the agricultural economy. Haiti has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS and one of the highest infant morality rates in the Western Hemisphere. Only 30% of children complete grade six and nearly half of all Haitians are illiterate. The 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew in 2016 took the lives of thousands of people and left millions homeless.

Life in Haiti

Nearly 10 million people live in Haiti, half of the population being under 20 years of age. Around 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. The majority of the people work in agriculture, but the vulnerability due to damage caused by natural disasters, along with the widespread deforestation, created severe setbacks to their economy. Haiti has the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in the western hemisphere; 1 in 50 people are infected. As a result, it is very difficult for a child to survive in these conditions and Haiti has one of the highest infant mortality rates, totalling around 74 deaths/1000 live births, and a life expectancy of only 62. 7 years.


Poverty makes it hard to access education in Haiti. Most schools are privately owned and operated by religious organizations and NGOs; however there is only a 67% enrolment in Primary schools where only 30% of the students reach the 6th grade. Consequently, there is only a 52.9% literacy rate in the country.

Haiti Statistics

Population: Almost 10 million

Life Expectancy: 62.7 years

Literacy Rate: 52.9%

Currency: Gourde

Capital City: Port-au-Prince

Time Zone: UTC/GMT -5 hours, same as Toronto

Size Comparison: Roughly half the size of Nova Scotia

Language: French and Creole

Heritage: 95% of population is made up of descendants of African slaves

Average Yearly Income: $300

Known As: "Pearl of the Antilles"




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