On the 12 January 2010, thousands of children witnessed unimaginable scenes, that no kid of that age could possibly comprehend. Traumatised and then displaced to temporary camps, it is difficult for them to get over their hidden traumas without external help.


The First Lady of the country, Mme Préval, with the support of a group of Haitian artists, and especially the painter and sculptor Philippe Dodard, set up in February a project named “Plas Timoun“, which means “children’s square” in analogy with the public squares which have been turned into huge camps.

The concept of this project lies on art therapy and a socio-cultural programme that allows the children to express what they have lived during and after the catastrophe. Different art workshops, set up inside buses and assisted by local artists and counselors, encourage children to express their feelings while playing. The director of the Plas Timoun centre in Petion-Ville explained to us that many of them were closed off from the world and that after the opening of the centre considerable progress has been noticed. There are currently two centres in Port-au-Prince: one in Champs de Mars (next to the presidential palace) and the other one in Petion-Ville. A third centre is about to be opened.

In the video report that follows, you will learn about the activities at Plas Timoun in Petion-Ville, and the effect on the children who attend it. This centre has received about 1200 children since its opening on the 24 February.

Michaëlle Léger, the centre’s director, is concerned about the future of this project. What will happen after the elections and the change of president in November? At the moment, this centre is the only alternative for all those children which cannot attend school and have no activities in the camp where they live. In fact, the school system in Haiti is too expensive for the majority of parents, which are forced to go to work leaving their kids alone all day at the camp.

Will the new government take its responsibilities and look after these children in the camps, who are marked forever and currently do not have any perspective of improvement of their conditions?