By Adeline Bienaime, Transitional Home Director

Lourdy is a smart little girl who came to live with her older sister and godmother when her parents could not take care of her anymore. She helped with all the house work and also looked after her nephew and niece. This meant working long tiring hours, and even though she was allowed to attend school she was often late or so tired that she would fall asleep in class.

This situation is very common in Haiti where 1 out 15 children from poor a family is sent to live with relatives or foreigners in the hope of a better life. In reality they become modern slaves, working long hours to perform house chores with no compensation. They are neglected, often mistreated and sometimes physically abused.

At Restavek Freedom, we welcome those children and support them in many ways. We enroll them in our advocacy program so that they have someone to trust and with whom to share their situation with. We also pay their school tuition fees and ensure that they get all the supplies needed. Lourdy has been a beneficiary of this program for several years now.

With time and attention, children in restavek take back their childhood

Lourdy’s condition was difficult and her sister was increasingly holding her back from school, arguing that she was lazy and could not follow. She made her repeat her 4th year. And then, Lourdy missed a whole year of class because she had to work. Her situation became unbearable when her sister’s husband tried to sexually abuse her. After consulting Lourdy, the RF team decided to remove her from this dangerous environment and took her in the transitional home.

In June 2016, she arrived at the Transitional home. After a long conversation with her, we understood that she is a very intelligent little girl. So, we arranged private lessons for her before the opening of classes 2016-2017. And it was decided to register her for the 5th and 6th year in the Accelerated Learning program. She passed the assessment test successfully! Today she has already received bulletins for the first three stages, which she all succeeded.

Restavek Freedom is proud to help these children realize their full potential. They may be a bit behind academically and clumsy in their relationships with other students but they are not stupid. Their host family only stole their time, their childhood and also their intelligence, forcing them to do jobs that exceed their age. Given time and attention, they reveal their true personality, enter into fulfilling friendships and are very successful in their studies.

Restavek Freedom works endlessly to end child slavery in Haiti in our lifetime. Join us to provide a dignified future for children in restavek!! Learn more on Restavek Freedom and how you can help.