Around the world, deforestation – the clearing of forests on a large scale – has become a huge problem and Haiti is no exception. Every year, about 30 million trees are cut down and made into charcoal. The problem is, trees offer food, fresh water, clothing, medicine, and shelter to the people. The benefits of trees are exponential, but when they are cut down, people suffer.

The 80% unemployment rate in Haiti has something to do with the deforestation. The people don’t have jobs and they are desperate for money. The easiest thing to do is cut down the trees and sell them in the city. This short-term fix has long term effects, is hurting the country of Haiti, and setting the next generation up for failure and hardship.

However, more trees can help fix the problem! How? We’re glad you asked.
1. Trees give life

As stated before, trees are a source of food, water, and other vital needs of life. They keep the soil from eroding, protect against flooding, and keep the land from turning into a desert which has no way to give or sustain life. Because of the erosion – particularly on the mountainsides – the ability to farm has decreased and overfishing has taken place because of the need for food. Trees balance out the environment and give nutrition to the people.

2. Trees can break the cycle of poverty

There is a saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Trees can supply jobs when men are taught to farm. At Mijaba Bainet, our goal is to educate the people of Haiti and teach them how they can help the environment – and themselves – by planting and taking care of plants and trees. This initiative can break the cycle of poverty by allowing people to work for their food and money without destroying the forests around them.

Every year, each child in the village is encouraged to plant five trees and take care of them. It is their responsibility to nurture the trees so they can bear fruit. This year, the village planted 1,500 trees and their goal is to plan 50,000 a year from now on  to help restore Haiti’s forests.

Trees create hope among the people of Haiti. They provide health, positively impact the environment, and allow people to work for a living. Something simple can make a huge impact.