Volunteer Abroad in Haiti

A Guide To

Volunteering Abroad in Haiti


22 Volunteer Abroad Programs in Haiti

Experience Kids, Culture and Community in Haiti!

Volunteers For Peace provides unique opportunities to build friendships, have a positive impact on kids, and meet local community needs. Projects include summer day camps for kids, environmental protection, and health education. We have over 30 years of experience in international voluntary service. Use the coupon code “gab14” to earn $50 off your registration fee today!

Global Volunteer Placements Developed at Johns Hopkins

International Medical Aid (IMA) offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for doctors, medical residents, medical students, and pre-med undergraduates to work in busy international hospitals, mentored by our outstanding staff of dedicated physicians and other healthcare professionals. We collaborate with an extensive network of public and private hospitals to provide rewarding hands-on programs ...

Work Alongside Families in Haiti

Volunteers will go on 1-2 week trips to help build highly earthquake and hurricane resistant homes in sustainable communities for families living in tents since the earthquake. Other community and cultural experiences, like visiting orphanages and a tent camp, can be included. Experience the joy of giving a family a beacon of hope and help them take a step towards a better life!

Orphanage and Community Volunteer

What does it mean to be a Britsionary? Being a Britsionary means different things to everyone, but in essence it means you are continuing the compassion of Britney Gengel. Britsionarys travel to Haiti and work side-by-side with Haitian workers and interact with the children at BLB - to achieve a common goal - to fulfill Britney's last wish to help the children of Haiti. Our Britsionarys ha...

Lend a Hand to Haiti and Help Rebuild their Future!

We are dedicated to making a difference in peoples lives by promoting healthy living through, teaching preventative measures, nurturing, and to foster quality of life. This is provided through services that are directed by volunteers, such as the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of a person.

Beyond Travel

Share your skills for a good cause and volunteer abroad in Haiti with Beyond Travel. Placements focus on community development and cultural exploration. All participants are provided with meals and housing. Volunteers are based in Jacmel, Leogane, Port-au-Prince, or Les Cayes. The program lasts one to two weeks.

Educational International Volunteer

Located in southwestern Haiti, the Notre Dame Family Education Center is a thriving organization that works alongside the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the La Savane community of Haiti to create pathways out of poverty through education for both children and adults. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work with two Haitian volunteers in different areas, including morning literacy pr...

Sadhana Forest

Projects include water control, organic food production and erosion control. International volunteers work with planting, conservation, vegetable gardening and community maintenance. Everyone participating practice an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis

Volunteer in Haiti with Haiti Medical Missions of Memphis, and provide much-needed professional services to key medical facilities. Volunteers can work in various positions, including Speech Therapy, Ophthalmology, and Dermatology. Placements are ideal for individuals with special skills, or for those interested in experiencing medical care in a third world country.

Volunteer in Haiti with World Wide Village

Help transform lives in Haiti through volunteering placements offered by World Wide Village. Programs are available in various fields, including Medical Health Care, Sustainable Agriculture, and Housing Construction. Volunteers can work with the organization for a duration of two to three months.

Back to Programs

Volunteering Abroad in Haiti

The poorest country in the western hemisphere needs an abundance of help from international volunteers. Some may turn their cheek to this need, while others may offer a hand to help. There is no doubt that a volunteer experience in Haiti can open one’s eyes to the values of life and give life meaning. In 2010, a severe earthquake shattered the country of Haiti, killing over 250,000 people, and leaving hundreds of thousands more without homes. In addition to this sad event, a corrupt government lacks proper distribution of aid to the entire country. Since then the endless need throughout Haiti has only grown.

Geography & Demographics

Haiti is located next to the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. It has a population of close to 10 million and is part of an island called Hispaniola. There is a very young population in Haiti; half of the 10 million people living in Haiti are under 20 years old. Many of these young people provide income for their families through farming and work in markets. Around 75 percent of Haitians survive on less than $2 US per day, a statistic that is often enough to convince individuals to volunteer in Haiti and many other poverty ridden nations.

Haiti has a tropical climate, with drier areas in the mountains. Much of Haiti is covered in mountains, and other types of rugged terrain. The terrain has changed over the years as the majority of Haiti has been affected by deforestation, which causes a lot of soil erosion and flooding.  

A popular time to visit Haiti is between December and April, when the weather is dry and less humid, as the rainy season begins around May. The weather is still warm throughout these months as well, with an average temperature of 80 degrees.

Food & Culture

The local food is distinct to Haiti, cooked with flavorful spices and moderately spicy. Peppers are often served with rice and beans, which are staples of the Haitian diet. Plantains are a very popular snack and usually fried in soybean oil. The women, who work the majority of the day gathering supplies for meals and cooking the meals, often cook meals together. Many people eat together in a group setting and prayer is said before the meal.

It is also important to stay hydrated throughout any stay in Haiti and plan for some stomach issues as it takes digestive systems time to adjust to the new cuisine. Foreigners should avoid drinking the water in Haiti, including ice cubes, as it is often ridden with bacteria. International volunteers should stick to bottled water instead, and avoid purchasing meat or produce from street vendors. Always know where food is coming from before ordering or purchasing it.

On this island nation, people speak French and Creole, a native language of Haiti. The Spanish language is also known amongst the younger population but isn’t as popular. Many local students study Spanish and know some varied dialects because of Haiti’s close proximity to the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Haiti’s currency is the Haitian gourde (HTG), about 50 Haitian gourdes are equal to just over one U.S. dollars. However, many Haitians prefer American dollars over the local gourde. At popular shops in Haiti located close to tourist attractions, vendors may try to overcharge foreigners for the same piece of artwork that could be bought on the street from a local sales person. For example, a beautiful canvas of art may be fifteen at the tourist site, while the same piece in better condition on the street can be bargained for at $5 US. Visitors should be firm when bargaining because they should always be able to get things cheaper than the asking price.

Haiti has a very religious-based culture, which is the  base for much of what the Haitians do in their daily lives. Approximately 80 percent of Haitians are Catholic, and many attend church daily. Some Haitians combine Catholicism with Voodoo, which is related to serving spirits. 

The music of Haiti is derived from African history mixed with some Spanish influence from their neighboring countries. Some music unique to Haiti is that related to Voodoo ceremonies, as well as Compas, which is a mix of African rhythm and European ballroom influence. Very brightly colored art is evident amongst the streets of Haiti in the capital of Port-au-Prince where men and women sell their art, or replicas of famous artwork. The art is moderately priced and can often be bargained for to make it cheaper.

Education is important to the children in Haiti. Those who are fortunate enough to go to school love school and are happy with the few supplies they have. Communities and charity organizations fund the majority of the schools; however, being in school past sixth grade is rare. Many of the children play soccer in Haiti between school hours and on their time off when they are not working or helping their families.

While traveling, prepare to move slowly and plan for many stops along the way. The roads are very rugged, especially in more rural areas. While the small village of Dumay is only located a little more than 17 miles from Port au Prince, approximately 30 minutes, the drive takes over 1.5 hours regularly. Travel takes place in “tap-taps”, which are large brightly colored taxis, which pick up and drop off passengers along any route. These tap-taps get very crowded but are one of the only ways to get transportation unless private transportation for a volunteer program is arranged. 

Volunteering in Haiti

Volunteers have the opportunity to work in medical placements, with children, and on community development projects. Medical volunteers can expect to encounter individuals with Tuberculosis, Typhoid fever, malnutrition, infections, and cardiovascular related issues. Small children often come into the clinics to be treated for worms and infections. Men often experience blood pressure problems and women frequently appear with severe dehydration in rural clinics. The majority of people treated in medical placements are under ten years old and many infants who are brought in by parents are underweight and in need nutritional supplements.

Before traveling or volunteering in Haiti, it is important to get the required immunizations and vaccines. It is also important to not travel alone especially at night. Crime rates are high in Haiti as many people are very desperate. Volunteers should travel in a group and not keep a lot of money on them or wear flashy jewelry and clothes. In general, Haitians are friendly to foreigners, want to get to know new people, and are genuinely thankful for their volunteer work throughout the nation.

Groups of volunteers are sometimes placed in group accommodations in homes with kitchens and bathrooms, and bedrooms for multiple volunteers to share. Homes of this type are almost unheard of when it comes to local houses. Many of the homes in small villages are very run down, often with no furniture and filled with haystacks to serve as beds. Animals roam freely and there is a lot of garbage throughout most villages. However, amidst sometimes desperate living conditions, volunteers have the opportunity to realize the true necessities of life. The locals are happy and content with what little they haven despite so much destruction throughout Haiti. 

Overall, a visit to Haiti will put perspective into life. Volunteering in Haiti is a very humbling experience. Finally, take time to plan your visit to Haiti, as the resources there are limited; planning can be the first key to a successful, effective volunteer experience. Mwen Renmen Haiti (which means I love Haiti in Creole).

Read More

written by: