An Interview with Colene Jansen
Colene Jansen is a 4th year student at Redeemer University College studying political science, French, and history. She is also the president of the Global Workplace Justice Club at Redeemer – a student club that raises awareness for global social justice issues and advocates for change. In 2014, Colene took a trip to Haiti with her church and visited one of Restavek Freedom’s transitional homes. This firsthand experience with the children in Haiti sparked a passion in her heart to speak out for the plight of restavek kids to her peers and community.
Our writers recently spoke with Colene on her experiences with Restavek Freedom as well as a board game fundraiser she organized at her college to support our work.
RF- How did you get involved with Restavek Freedom? Can you tell us your story of coming to support this organization?
CJ- I first heard about the problem of restavek when I visited Haiti in 2014 on a vision trip with my church. As a part of the trip, we visited one of the Restavek Freedom Transitional Homes and heard stories from their child advocacy program about the situation of restavek and the work of Restavek Freedom. I was touched by what the child advocates shared about the situation of many children in Haiti, and since that time I have taken a special interest in the issue of restavek.
RF- How would you describe the work of Restavek Freedom to a friend or neighbor?
CJ- I would say that Restavek Freedom is working to combat child slavery in Haiti. They care for some children in their transitional homes but much of their work is based on changing the culture around restavek in Haiti. They advocate for children, educate families and other community members, work with the government, and raise awareness in various ways so that restavek children are seen in Haiti as having rights worthy of protection.
RF- Tell us about the fundraiser at Redeemer, how it came about and what the event was like.
CJ- Myself and another student gave a presentation to the Global Workplace Justice Club about restavek to raise awareness about the problem. Many people were touched by the issue – one they had previously not known about. So, myself and the leadership team of the club decided to take some action in order to combat the injustice of restavek. I knew from my visit to Haiti that Restavek Freedom was a great organization doing amazing work, so we decided as a group to do a fundraiser in order to support Restavek Freedom.
RF- How would you describe Restavek Freedom’s work to a college friend?
CJ- Restavek Freedom is fighting for a good cause. They want to see child slavery ended in Haiti in our lifetime. They are very effective in the work that they do and are influencing long term change in Haiti through their various programs.
Join Us in Ending Child Slavery
Restavek Freedom is passionate about working to end slavery and the unjust system of restavek. You can support our work through creative fundraising or by sponsoring children in need. Click here to learn more about what our teams in Haiti are doing to restore childhood for many and restore freedom to the island of Haiti.