Horyzon youth center in Haiti remains open

2023 Youth Summer Camp manual activities2

Violence in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince has been escalating again since the end of February. Armed gangs control a large part of the city, such as important transportation routes and parts of the international airport. Prisons have also been stormed and many inmates have managed to escape. As a result, stores and schools remain closed and thousands of people are fleeing to other regions. In view of the escalation of violence, the government has imposed a state of emergency and a night-time curfew. The main reason for the uprisings is primarily the current political situation: since the murder of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021, the country has been ruled by Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who was not elected by the public. He recently promised to organize elections by August 2025 at the latest. Haiti's two largest gangs have joined forces and are demanding the resignation of the prime minister - they do not hesitate to attack the civilian population and use physical, psychological and sexual violence as an instrument of power.

Although the Horyzon youth center for girls and young women is located just outside the capital in a suburb called Pétion-Ville, it is just as affected by the current events due to its close distance to the city. The youth center had to close for a few days because it was too dangerous for staff and project participants to get there. The team analyzes the security situation on a daily basis and decides on the opening hours of the youth center at short notice. This made it possible to reopen the center and continue many activities despite the current state of emergency. The staff is doing everything it can to provide participants with safe spaces, especially in such difficult times. As schools are currently closed, girls and young women are most at risk of becoming victims of violence and sexual crimes. At the youth center, they receive psychological and physical protection, hot meals, clean drinking water, medical care and psychosocial support. In addition, the center was able to give the participants food to take home immediately after the escalation of violence in order to provide for them and their families for the days during the state of emergency. 

Despite the current situation and all the challenges, the local project managers are very motivated and are doing their very best: "We continue to show solidarity and never lose hope for a better future in which peace and justice prevail in Haiti." Horyzon supports the employees and participants and is always in close contact with those responsible on the ground.