Members of the Go Overseas community have expressed interest in volunteering to support hurricane relief efforts in Haiti. To help, we have put together a resource on where and how you can volunteer in hurricane relief.

Recently, Haiti has undergone some extreme challenges. The 2010 earthquake devastated all walks of Haitian life, but the country would not currently be as stable as it is were it not for the legions of volunteers and aid-workers who committed themselves to Haiti's recovery. That said, there is still much to do to improve the lot of Haitian lives.

All sectors of the society are in need of major improvements; Haiti generally ranks towards the bottom of development indicators. Literacy rates are low as is access to electricity, clean water, and hospitals. Infectious disease rates are high as a result. Few countries have both the dire need and the ease of access from North America that Haiti offers for volunteers.

Haiti is currently in process of rebuilding its tourism infrastructure, but due to on-going instability, it is only the most intrepid travelers and volunteers who get to explore the beautiful beaches, mountains, and rich cultural heritage. Most foreigners only see the country through the lens of their respective volunteer organizations, but even that glimpse can provide one all the raw material necessary to catalyze great personal growth and development.


The need in Haiti for secure homes and construction skills cannot be overstated. As the 2010 earthquake demonstrated, and hurricanes remind us, Haiti is vulnerable to natural disaster. Compounding the threat is the fact that many buildings are not structurally durable enough to withstand intense seismic and climatic events.

Without sound building techniques and sturdy structures, any such events in the future will again have dramatic humanitarian consequences on a scale much larger were that infrastructure not in place. Many structures currently need repair and still many families are in need of better housing solutions. Additionally, workforce training in construction skills would go a long way towards equipping Haitians to be self-sufficient.

Health Care

Haiti suffers from a lack of treatment centers and qualified medical practitioners. In both rural and urban communities, medical volunteers and support staff are integral to providing a wide range of healthcare services that would not exist otherwise. Many organizations accept volunteers with medical competency ranging from none to fully-licensed professionals. Volunteers have the opportunity to learn about medicine in the developing world as well as to teach Haitian healthcare workers.


Volunteering in orphanages is a popular option due to the sheer number of available organizations and broad scope of work. Haiti has a large number of orphans many of whom have medical issues and malnutrition to contend with. They need routine medical and emotional support, education, and facilities within which to receive those services.

To meet these needs, large numbers of volunteer caregivers are needed to serve in capacities ranging from teaching and mentoring to administration and construction. Many organizations also work as missions with religious education being a featured component. It’s important to note that anyone considering working in an orphanage or as a caregiver for children must be committed for a year, must have proper training to work with kids, and must research their organization to ensure it’s authenticity.

Community Development

In addition to healthcare and construction, there are many more arenas of service in which a volunteer in Haiti can share expertise. Lack of education is another of Haiti's many problems and results in one of the lowest literacy rates in the world.

Also, public sanitation and access to clean drinking water have enormous consequences on Haiti's ability to avoid outbreaks such as the ongoing cholera epidemic that places huge strains on an already taxed medical infrastructure. And like many regions of the world, Haiti suffers from deforestation and depletion of natural resources, all of which have direct influence on the land's ability to literally weather the storms that ravage the country.

Volunteer support

Embassies are located in Port-au-Prince; consider registering your trip before you depart. Facilities are extremely limited as is access to them so pack with self-sufficiency in mind so as not to deplete the resources of your volunteer organization. Keep copies of important documents, itineraries, and contact numbers with you. Consider travel and evacuation insurance if the host organization does not already have them in place for volunteers.

NGO/Non-Profit history

Haiti's turbulent history, politically and environmentally, has made foreign aid crucial to its livelihood. Unfortunately, that has also fueled corruption and mismanagement of funds whereby Haiti's elite prosper behind guarded compounds while the rest of the country suffers.

Despite that fact and in response to the 2010 earthquake outside Port-au-Prince, an influx of NGOs established programs to help Haiti recover, rebuild and rehabilitate. Haiti receives roughly 40% of its GDP from foreign aid, and is thus extremely dependent on the goodwill, both in money and services, provided from abroad. While the media coverage of the Haitians' plight has waned, need for international support has not

Know Before You Go

Contact the volunteer organization and ask questions related to health, safety, airport pick-up/drop-off, in-country travel, access to ATMs, communications, medical facilities, food, and clean water. Also see if there are any supplies needed that would be easy for you to transport. Check current safety advisories and speak to a travel health specialist to get required and suggested medications and vaccines.

Should you learn any languages before volunteering in Haiti?

French and Creole are the primary languages, though any English-based NGO should have a satisfactory number of English speakers. Learning phrases in French or Creole will go a long way towards establishing rapport with the people you are serving. Furthermore, a volunteer to Haiti should be mentally prepared to see extreme poverty, illness and disease up close. But that is why volunteers are so desperately needed and why so many come away with rewarding and life-changing experiences.

The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning for Haiti due to concern for lack of adequate emergency medical facilities and the security environment. While kidnappings have decreased over the years, crime is a very real concern particularly around the airport and banks in Port-au-Prince. It is advised to organize a trip to Haiti with an aid-organization who will arrange all in-country logistics and has emergency and evacuation protocols in place.

Also advised is speaking to a travel health specialist. All travelers should be current on routine vaccinations and most should have their hepatitis A and typhoid shots. Depending on what activities a volunteer will be involved with, hepatitis B, rabies, and yellow fever vaccines may also be recommended. Insect-borne diseases should be prevented with any available prophylaxis.

The malaria strain in Haiti can be fatal so plan on taking anti-malarial medication. There is also risks of dengue and chikungunya, neither of which can be vaccinated against, so effective use of insect-repellent would be prudent. Pack a small medical kit so you can have basic supplies at hand; consider donating it before you return home.

Contributed by Christoph Pearson

Volunteer Programs in Haiti

Displaying 1 - 15 of 25 programs
Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)
Volunteer in Haiti: Global Health Initiative
9 •1 review

A primer for studying public health or medicine, this university-level...

Mission of Hope
Mission Trip in Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, or Bahamas
Multiple Countries
10 •3 reviews

You can help share the love of Christ by serving on a short-term trip...

Sadhana Forest
Food Conservation Program in South East Haiti
10 •2 reviews

We are an international vegan organization working in India, Haiti and...

International Service Learning
Global Health Volunteer Opportunities in The Dominican Republic and Haiti
9 •2 reviews

Assist in providing community and medical services to those in need...

Live Different
Volunteer At A School - Support Education in Haiti
10 •2 reviews

Each of our volunteers participate in building projects and spend time...

The New World Community
Make a Difference in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
10 •1 review

Travel with us for 1-2 weeks to our beautiful partner community in...

America Solidaria
Fellowship for Latin America and the Caribbe
Multiple Countries
10 •1 review

America Solidaria seeks Fellows who are interested in implementing...

Mission of Hope
Medical Mission Trips in the Caribbean
Multiple Countries

Mission of Hope facilitates mobile medical clinics year-round to bring...

The Village Experience
Haiti - Be a Responsible Tourist

Spend your days in Haiti pumping money back into the economy and being...

Healthcare Administrators: Volunteer in Haiti

Duties and Responsibilities: Support the Hospital Administrator in...

REACH Summer Build - Homes for Orphaned Children

REACH is offering High School Seniors, College Students and extended...

Devoted to Children Foundation
Community Volunteering in Haiti

This project offers you an opportunity to do seva, or selfless service...

SIMACT Foundation
Cultural Immersion Volunteer Program in Haiti

A trip of a lifetime. See Haiti up close like never before. Travel to...

Be Like Brit Foundation
Volunteer to Build Homes in Haiti

Close to 400,000 people still live in tents and temporary shelters...

Boots on the Ground
Be a Medical Volunteer with Boots on the Ground in Haiti

We always welcome medical volunteers. We specifically need physicians...

What People Are Saying

I have been traveling with Mission of Hope for 10 years now. They never fail to radically change my life for the better. It's an amazing opportunity to see God work and be overwhelmed by his greatness...

Handing out lights

I have volunteered 3 months at Sadhana Forest Haiti and looking back I can say that it has been a life changing experience! While on the one hand learning about the life of the local people in Anse-à...

Seedling in the Nursery

ISL offers opportunities to serve and travel to 14 countries including the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It was great to combine the two countries of the one island and compare the two cultures. The...

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