{on haiti}

  HAITI WAS THE WORLD'S FIRST INDEPENDENT BLACK REPUBLIC. THE 1804 REVOLUTION PAVED THE WAY FOR THE LIBERATION OF SLAVES THROUGHOUT THE NEW WORLD. AFTER WINNING THEIR INDEPENDENCE FROM FRANCE, HAITI WAS FORCED TO PAY 93 MILLION FRANCS IN RESTITUTION (EQUIVALENT TO $21.7 BILLION TODAY).

THE LEGACY OF THAT DEBT, WHICH FORCED HAITI TO CLOSE ALL OF ITS PUBLIC SCHOOLS, CLEAR CUT ITS TROPICAL FORESTS, AND BORROW AT HIGH RATES FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, CONTINUES TO HAUNT HAITI TODAY:

• HAITI HAS YET TO ACHIEVE UNIVERSAL PRIMARY EDUCATION, AND LESS THAN HALF OF THE ADULT POPULATION IS LITERATE.

• THE LANDSCAPE IS SEVERELY DEFORESTED, WITH LESS THAN 4% OF THE LAND STILL FORESTED. AS A RESULT, TOPSOIL IS ERODING AT THE ALARMING RATE OF 36.6 MILLION METRIC TONS/YEAR. WITHOUT FERTILE TOPSOIL, HAITIAN FARMERS STRUGGLE TO PRODUCE A FRACTION OF THE AGRICULTURAL OUTPUT FROM COLONIAL TIMES.

• FOR THE PAST CENTURY, HAITI HAS SPENT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS SERVICING FOREIGN LOANS RATHER THAN PROVIDING SERVICES TO ITS POPULATION.

TODAY, HAITI IS THE POOREST NATION IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE, WITH OVER 60% UNEMPLOYMENT AND THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION SURVIVING ON LESS THAN $1 PER DAY.

ONLY 17% OVER HAITIANS HAVE ACCESS TO IMPROVED SANITATION, AND EVEN WHERE THERE ARE TOILETS, SEWAGE IS FREQUENTLY DISPOSED OF WITHOUT TREATMENT. HUMAN WASTE LEACHES INTO THE WATER SUPPLY, INFECTING HAITIANS WITH PREVENTABLE BUT DEADLY ILLNESSES. SINCE 2010, CHOLERA HAS CLAIMED OVER 8,500 LIVES AND SICKENED ALMOST 700,000 PEOPLE. ILLNESS FROM WATER-BORNE BACTERIA IS THE LEADING CAUSING OF DEATH IN YOUNG CHILDREN.
 

  Help us change the image of Haiti by getting informed about the root causes of poverty in Haiti. Please visit SOIL's website at www.oursoil.org and help support their work through a purchase from the Transitive Properties and Diyite collections. You have a chance to join the group of participating activists representing the beauty of Haiti by proudly wearing this jewelry.