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Haiti's orphans: join in the debate

I've recently returned from Haiti for our upcoming Panorama examining the plight of the country's orphans.

In a nation where half the 9 million population are children under 18, it was the daily images and stories of distressed children in the days after the earthquake that were the most striking.

Despite the triumphant pictures of children being rescued from collapsed buildings and reunited with relatives, the reality for many is very different.

For our programme, we attempted to update the situation of the nation's orphaned children. This video diary gives some of my first impressions at the end of a day spent with some of Port au Prince's street kids.

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For those lucky enough to be taken in by one of Haiti's overflowing orphanages, there is the hope of a better future. I visited one where the pastor is doing his best to care for the children and give them the love and attention that they deserve.

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Our programme, the Orphans of Haiti, is on BBC One, Monday 12 July at 8.30pm and for users in the UK it is then available on the BBC iPlayer.

We'd like you to enter the debate and give us your comment on the programme. Use this forum to share your thoughts.


  • Comment number 1.

    We welcome your input and comments on our blog.

    Please join the debate and tell us your thoughts on the Orphans of Haiti?

  • Comment number 2.

    Dear Raphael,

    I am a Haitian living in the UK and just back from Haiti myself visiting family and friends, and to better understand the ground situation.

    Thank you for your programme and for bring these issues to light. Tough debate !!
    If you ever need any info or assistance, please let me know. [Personal details removed by Moderator]

    God Bless you and mesi an pil !

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Raphael

    well done with your report, I really felt you got the message out there, heres hoping we never forget. Having spent a brief time in Haiti I saw at first hand how difficult it was for these people, I cant imagine the truma that these people have gone through. And it still baffles me how these children still manage to smile. Heres hoping Haiti can somehow overcome this dreadfull time, my thoughts and prayers are with all thoes affected.

    Regards Carmena Nash

  • Comment number 4.

    A strong, thought-provoking and balanced report.

    Eagerly awaiting your next piece.

  • Comment number 5.

    well done raphael for bringing this report to us and for raising awareness in our hearts and minds for those forgotten people who are struggling to survive everyday.

  • Comment number 6.

    I am absolutely shocked that you did not mention or in any way cover SOS Children's Villages - which was official legal guardian for thousands of children. In fact they were the ones to take care of the children taken from the 'Christian' missionaries.

    Also, the governor should have been called out on saying that the orphanage had collapsed, when moments ago we all saw it standing there, abandoned.

  • Comment number 7.

    Why the total omission of historical context? Its central to understanding why Haiti is such an impoverished country. If journalism is about uncovering the truth you could have mentioned that Haiti won independence from France in 1804, was forced under threat of war to pay "compensation" to the french government from 1825 to 1947. Academics recently publicly asked the french government to repay this extorted cash amounting to $40 billion in todays money. Given the programmes focus on Americans adopting Haitian children it seemed odd to completely ignore the very active role the US has played historically in creating Haitian poverty. The US invaded Haiti in 1915 and occupied it until 1934. They installed a brutal national guard, backed dictatorships, forced privatisation of industry/farming and twice removed the elected President Aristide whos modest reforms such as a minimum wage threatened the interests of international capital.

  • Comment number 8.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 9.

    I see this article has not been updated, but I think another look at the situation through investigative eyes may be well-warranted.
    Where has all the money gone?
    Is it corruption? Theft?
    The amount spent on controlling violence?
    Tens-of-thousands in Haiti are still waiting for relief to arrive.
    I suspect it will be difficult for the United States and other donors to track the millions of dollars that headed to Haiti.
    US government auditors pulled out of the country years ago after concerns over kidnappings stopped their efforts to monitor Haiti's spending of $45M after storms there killed thousands.
    Haiti's shortage of fundamentals — reliable roads, telephone and power lines, clean water, solid housing are so very apparent, even after all these months since the devastating earthquake.
    The United Nations says that governments have pledged $323 million, corporations another $139 million and the pledges are still coming in...
    Where has the money gone? Where is it going?
    The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, faced problems on a smaller scale in 2005 and 2006 as auditors tried to account for the use of roughly $45M after Tropical Storm Jeanne struck Haiti in September 2004, killing more than 2,000 people and affecting an estimated 300,000 others.
    What guarantee does the piblic have that aid to Haiti is used appropriately?
    Has the Government of Haiti completed an audit?
    Much of the US government's aid to Haiti comes through the Agency for International Development. Former President Bill Clinton, the United Nations special envoy to Haiti, told the UN Security Council in September that he was "100 percent committed to delivering tangible results to the UN and most importantly the people of Haiti."
    I see Bill Clinton all over the place, but I haven't seen him in Haiti in months.

  • Comment number 10.

    The cost for a Hatian adoption is ASTOUNDING in the best of circumstances. Also they require couples to be over the age of 35 and married at least 10 years. There are thousands of couples who don't fill those requirements or don't have 25K to adopt a child they would love to otherwise. The Hatian and US government should work together to help reduce these limits and costs to help people adopt these children. If they had before the earthquake there would probably be more adoptions from Haiti. I personally don't have 25K and I am infertile at the age of 23. I'd have to wait 12 years to adopt! My husband is a lawyer and makes plenty of money. With this earthquake there are many couples like us who are just reaching out a kind hand to offer a baby a home they might not have gotten otherwise. I think the Hatian government should think about that in the months to come instead of keeping the kids from potential parents. The US should offer temporary humanitarian parole to confirmed orphans and place them in the US adoption process to help couples who cannot afford international adoption but have plenty of money to raise a child comfortably.



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