Your students are orphans. In all ILP schools, the children come from a wide variety of backgrounds ranging from lower to upper class. In neighboring D.R. the students are underprivileged and come from very little means. Haiti is very similar to that, but with a step further. All of your students will come from extremely limited means and are orphans. In addition to teaching all the children at the orphanage, children from the surrounding neighborhood will also have an opportunity to participate in ILP classes you teach.
You live at the orphanage. ILP volunteers will live on the top floor of the orphanage compound, children live on the bottom floor, and your Local Coordinator live in another wing of the orphanage building. It’s like one big family here and you’ll become part of it! This gives you an opportunity to spend much more time with the children you’re serving, even outside of classroom. Volunteers in every country commit to teach up to 20 hours per week, but if you’re looking for opportunities to spend even more one-on-one time with the kids, Haiti is the perfect place for you.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It’s likely that you’ve never seen poverty like you’ll find in Haiti. Natural disaster after natural disaster has left this country in ruins with the locals continually trying to get their most basic needs met. 4 out of 5 Haitians are homeless and/or struggle to find the next meal for their family. To put it into perspective…the unemployment rate in Haiti is more than double what it was during the Great Depression in the U.S. One of the most well known disasters was the earthquake in Haiti’s capital city in 2010. That disaster alone created nearly 1 million documented cases of cholera and nearly 100,000 are still without homes today, living in refugee camps. Many outside organizations have come into Haiti to give relief aid, but there is still great need here.
Exploring and travel is more limited for ILP volunteers. Likely linked to the poverty we just mentioned, infrastructure in Haiti is not the best to support travel and tourism. Roads, long-distance transportation, electricity, and public services necessary to accommodate travel and tourism are not always reliable. In other countries, volunteers are usually free to travel just about anywhere in-country within normal ILP travel rules. Our volunteers’ safety is always a top concern, and this is especially true in Haiti. Because of the infrastructure deficiencies, volunteers in Haiti will still be able to arrange travel as out of the country during vacation periods as normal (Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Turks & Caicos, are just a few close by…), but travel within Haiti will be more limited and require additional support. You will be able to visit some of the main areas of interest (Such as Les Cayes or Cap Hatien) if travel to those areas is safe, but travel rules will be more restrictive to help keep you safe.