Cité Soleil, HAITI

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80% of the population living under the poverty line and 54% in abject poverty. Two-thirds of all Haitians depend on the agricultural sector, mainly small-scale subsistence farming, and remain vulnerable to damage from frequent natural disasters, exacerbated by the country’s widespread deforestation.

The children of Haiti have the highest disease and death rate of all children in the Western Hemisphere.

While governments in the world do provide aide and funding programs to Haiti, such programs are central to high-density areas and never see the people in the boroughs or rural areas of the country.

The area encompassed by Cité Soleil is approximately 5 sq. kilometres. Its citizens all live in poverty – most in abject poverty. What is arguably now the Western Hemisphere’s biggest slum, the area was originally developed to house workers of Haiti’s industrial boom, but quickly grew in size as people from across the country flocked here looking for work.

An international boycott of Haitian manufactured products after the coup d’etat in 1991 which sent then President Jean Bertrand Aristide into exile. This boycott effectively led to the complete closure of Cité Soleil’s manufacturing sector – pushing the entire region into unemployment and, subsequently, extreme poverty.