By Jennifer Francois, Child Advocate
Caroline was born in December 1998; she has 5 brothers and 4 sisters.
Caroline’s father always told her that her mother was alive, but he never provided information on her location or how to contact her. Growing up without her mother made Caroline’s childhood difficult. She did not know the feeling of a mother’s love for her daughter. Her fears, tears, joys- she had to face them without the support of her mother.
She does not remember how old she was when she was sent by her father to live with her aunt because he could not care for her. Living with her aunt caused Caroline to be delayed in school.
Caroline was accepted to Restavek Freedom’s Child Advocacy program at 9 years old in August 2008. Below is an interview I had with her this past January.
Child Advocate (CA): Hello Caroline, how are you?
Caroline: I am doing well, thank you, even though the difficulties encountered the house, these days I feel really good when I am at school. I take school much more seriously than last year.
CA: Why do you take your education so seriously?
Caroline: Because education is the key to success, and I want to succeed in life.
CA: When do you feel proud of yourself?
Caroline: When I am in the classroom and I give my opinions on questions asked by teachers. Even though sometimes I am wrong and am criticized by some students, I do my best to not make the same mistake twice.
CA: What are your chores and responsibilities in the household?
Caroline: My aunt has a restaurant in the house where I live, she makes me cook and clean. When I am on vacations (from school), I clean the house, I do the dishes and I go to fetch water. Sometimes I can find assistance with my chores and I am happy for that.
CA: When are you most happy?
Caroline: When I am at school with my friends.
CA: When you are thinking about your life, what do you imagine?
Caroline: If RFF (Restavek Freedom) had not accepted me into the program, I would not be where I am today. I could possibly have lived on the streets, or be working at a rich persons house like a domestic servant. RFF made it possible to be where I am today and I’d like to say thank you so much with all my heart. I am proud of the girl I am today.
Caroline is taking her education seriously. She works hard and has wonderful grades. Last semester she ranked third in her class! As her Advocate, I am proud of the young lady that Caroline has become!