Rebuilding Haiti in a Demographic Crisis

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Rebuilding after a natural disaster anywhere has its major challenges. The anniversary of any disaster offers a moment to reflect, no more so than in Haiti where more than 1,000,000 people remain displaced a year after the 7.0 earthquake destroyed lives and livelihoods. Even in the best case scenario rebuilding takes years. In Haiti, violence, political uncertainty and the recent cholera outbreak have slowed the work.

One of the main challenges Haiti has is its demographics and overwhelming number of population under 18 years old and uneducated. The country, because of this lacks a ready workforce to aid in rebuilding.

Of Haiti‘s population of nine million people, 45% are under the age of 18; 38% percent are under the age of 15. Some 610,000 Haitian children are orphans, according to U.N. estimates. Port-au-Prince alone has an estimated 2,000 street children. Before the earthquake, 50% of school age children were not enrolled in school. It is estimated that $2 billion will be required over the next five years to rebuild the country’s education system. Approximately 20% of Haiti‘s children were either living in an orphanage or working as “restaveks” (unpaid domestics servants) before the earthquake. Haiti‘s future depends on these children. Architecture for Humanity is rebuilding to help this demographic crisis by planning and building permanent schools, orphanages, youth centers, playgrounds and a vocational training center for Haiti‘s youth.

In the last year, Architecture for Humanity has made real progress and an impact with their efforts. In this first year, the team established a rebuilding center, distributed a basic guide to rebuilding safely to thousands, provided urban planning and construction expertise to our partners, and, most critically, worked to rebuild schools.

With  Students Rebuild as a partner, Architecture for Humanity is rebuilding schools, brick by brick, day by day with funds raised for students by students. Students Rebuild is a joint initiative of Architecture for Humanity, the Bezos Family Foundation and Global Nomads Group. Student funds are matched dollar for dollar (up to $2,500 per team) by the Bezos Family Foundation.

In addition, Architecture for Humanity also received a grant from The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to support building back businesses in Haiti. The $816,472 grant to Architecture for Humanity, in support of the Rebuilding Center in Port-au-Prince will enable small and growing Haitian businesses to participate in post-earthquake reconstruction and ensure rebuilding incorporates better design and engineering.

Our Impact in Numbers

Distributed Rebuilding 101 Manual to 5,000+ builders

Provided Mason training grant impacting 500 builders

Schools in design and construction: 7, impacting 3,027 students

Hosted 58 visiting professionals (long-term and short-term)

Performed damage assessments of structures impacting 4,218 people

Designed camp improvements and upgrades impacting 25,000 people

Number of Haitians employed on projects to date: 1,340

Total design and construction beneficiaries to date: 37,935

Architecture for Humanity offers a detailed progress report here in both English & French:

English page:

French page:

There is still much more money and support needed in Haiti to make even greater progress looking ahead to the next 12 months. Architecture for Humanity estimates their team will be there at least 5 years rebuilding.

About Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit design services firm founded in 1999 that seeks to build a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. Through a network of building professionals, Architecture for Humanity brings design, construction, and development services to communities in need.  To make a donation and for more information: