Thousands of children in Haiti have lost their parents, siblings, homes, schools and cherished possessions as the most powerful Caribbean hurricane in nearly a decade devastated parts of the country.
The IKEA Foundation has given Save the Children a grant of €200,000 so they can quickly and efficiently scale up programmes to save children’s lives and help families begin to recover.
Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on 4 October, leaving such extensive damage that experts are still unsure of how many people it killed. Officially, over 300 people are reported to have died in the hurricane, but that figure is expected to rise significantly as communications with inaccessible areas are re-established. An estimated 750,000 people urgently need humanitarian aid.
Education comes to a standstill
Save the Children’s initial assessments show that 34,000 children are out of school in the area hit by Matthew. Schools are closed and many children are living in temporary shelters.
With the grant from the IKEA Foundation, Save the Children will help children by:
- setting up child-friendly spaces and providing recreational and educational activities led by specially trained staff who can help children cope with the trauma they have experienced
- providing classrooms with supplies and fixing some of the damage to schools
- providing schoolbags to children so their families have one less expense to worry about
- setting up systems to reunify children with their families, if they were separated in the chaos.
Kevin Novotny, Save the Children’s Country Director in Haiti, said: “Our first priority is to ensure that the thousands of children and families who have been badly affected are given the immediate assistance needed. This includes keeping children safe and getting them back into school as soon as possible.”
Jonathan Spampinato, Head of Communications at the IKEA Foundation, said: “All children have the right to a safe and healthy childhood. After disasters, children are among the most vulnerable—not just to the disaster itself but to exploitation, ongoing psychological trauma and a disrupted education family life. Protecting them and helping them recover is one of the most important things we can do to help make sure they have a brighter future.”