Crisis Response to Youth in Detention
Updated: Feb 22
Overture International's mission is to empower impoverished families through sustainable social, community and economic development.
What does this look like during the Coronavirus pandemic? We are currently responding to:
Food insecurity at crisis level for families in Haiti
Imprisoned youth suffering from malnutrition and lack social supports
Overture partners with like-minded organizations to provide critical services for children and families. In response to the growing food insecurity in Haiti, together with our partners, we are able to respond with emergency relief services to vulnerable families and children during the pandemic. Our joint efforts make a stronger impact!
Food insecurity is at a crisis level for families in Haiti. Over half of the population was already at increased risk before the pandemic due to sociopolitical unrest beginning in 2018 resulting in a severe economic decline. With markets and trade routes limited and shelter-in-place policies, even more Haitian families are at severe risk for malnutrition. When most of the population lives hand-to-mouth every day, they do not have the ability to stockpile food and supplies when the country is paralyzed.
Our Response to Families
ESPWA families have received food support for one month
36,000+ meals have been distributed to ESPWA and Camp Perrin students (1 meal a day for 1 month for each student)
44,000+ meals have been distributed in extremely vulnerable communities in the South Department
Your help is needed to continue this vital support of nutrition!
YOUTH IN CRISIS
Imprisoned youth are one of the most vulnerable populations in Haiti. They suffer from malnutrition and the lack of social supports.
Currently, there are 32 youth between the ages of 14 and 17 at the civil prison in Les Cayes. The conditions are disheartening:
There is one confinement cell for youth, designed to accommodate 18
Most of the youth do not have a bed to sleep on
No time is allowed outside of their confined space that is hot and without light
A bucket serves as their toilet and for washing
Most suffer from severe malnutrition and a variety of health issues
Haiti's prison system is considered one of the world's worst. In 2018, the World Prison Brief ranked Haiti's prisons as the world's most overcrowded, at 4.5 times overcapacity. Many youths being detained will wait up to 3 years in prison before their cases are even heard by a judge. The psychological damage alone can keep a child drowning in the cycle of poverty.
Recently, IBESR (Haitian child welfare agency) and The Brigade for the Protection of Minors (BPM) reached out to Overture International requesting support for these vulnerable youth.
Our Response to the Youth in Crisis
Social workers from Overture, ESPWA, CFRAPS (a Haitian counseling and psychological center) are assisting with food support, family tracing, and preparation for social reinsertion
Overture's social worker oversees this important project and visits the prison weekly in order to ensure the rights of the detained children are being protected
Meals are being prepared by ESPWA and are distributed by the social workers on the team
Continuing to provide nutrition and social supports for these youth is critical!
By providing hot meals for the imprisoned youth in Les Cayes and being advocates for their rights, they are given an opportunity at a fulfilling, functional life.