We are only one week away from the July 23rd Songs for Freedom Grande Finale!
The winner from each department will sing their original song about the issue of restavek and the treatment of children, and new judges will crown the national grand champion. Judging criteria will be the same: lyrics, vocals, orchestration, and presence on stage.
Here are the 10 finalists competing to become the National Champion, explaining how Songs for Freedom has impacted them and their communities:
Jean Baptist Viola, Grand Anse
Since winning, I now see children in a new light. I see them as the same, regardless of their color or social classes. I have been building awareness and worked with poor children, showing them that they are children like all the others and that they have plenty of potential. This competition has affected my entire community. I know a lady who was mistreating a child, repented of her dishonest acts, and became a person who is actively engaged in fighting [the restavek] system.
Exavier Ricardo, West department
Before my participation in [Songs for Freedom] I did not understand truly understand what the restavek system was. But from the competition I have a good understanding of the system and I see children in a whole different way. On my way home after the finale, a lady crying came to meet me. She told me that her consciousness was touched and repented of the way she was abusing a child who lived in her home. This continues to happen to me and people are embracing this noble cause.
Gemima Jean, South East department
I did not have an open view of children [in restavek] before entering this contest. Now that I know, I have to give my support for the cause of children. The contest remains something indelible in the memory of the people in my community. There is a lot of testimony about how people have changed and are treating children more the same – because in their looks and actions, we see love for children everywhere.
Aseline Volcy, Artibonite department
I love kids, but after my participation in the contest I have more love for poor children. I had invited several people who mistreated the [restavek] children to the contest. After they attended, several of their minds were changed and they testify that they understand the children who stay with them differently.
Johanise Zephy, South department
Before my participation in the contest I didn’t have enough compassion for vulnerable children but now I understand their misery and I engage to defend their cause. At the level of my neighborhood I can say that the mentality has started to change regarding children in restavek.
Paul Sherlie Stephanie, Center department
I have given special attention to children since my participation in the contest. I cannot see them mistreated and I am engaging to defend them. In my department, hearts have been touched and attitudes have changed. As the BPM inspector says, there is a decrease in complaints about children being abused since Songs for Freedom came to the Center department.
Guerline Jean-Louis, North-East department
My philosophy of children began to change in the first round where I was second. Now my vision is totally changed in relation to how I treat children because now I see my image in them. There is more motivation and determination; I have seen better treatment of children in my neighborhood since the competition.
Rossendie Mesadieu, North-west department
My conviction to help children was strengthened after my participation in the contest. I know at least one lady who abused a child. The day I registered to compete in the contest I invited her to come to hear my message. She was totally changed regarding treatment toward the child. Now she takes care of her and treats the child well.
Esdraline Jeanty, North department
After my participation in the contest I look at children now with a desire to know if they are well or happy where they are. People in my community are thinking and acting in a different way towards children.
Marjorie Evie Frederic, Nippes department
This is my second time participating in Songs for Freedom. I can say I understand vulnerable children much more and I give them my love and my time. The restavek system was something abstract in people’s thoughts but now they understand it and promote its eradication in my community.
Join us for the Songs for Freedom Grand Finale!
Sunday, July 23, 2017 at 4p.m.
Henfrasa, Delmas 33