Staff Spotlight: Meet Luckens
When Luckens joined the Restavek Freedom team last year, he was no stranger to the issue of restavek.
In addition to working as a civil engineer, Luckens served as a volunteer working with at-risk children for five years before becoming a child advocate with Restavek Freedom.
“After seeing the situation of children’s lives in Hinche during an evangelistic tour in 2017, I volunteered to help them, because no child deserves to live without an education, or even without love, or without any support,” Luckens shared.
But Luckens also has a more personal reason for working with children in restavek. “My father lived all his childhood with an uncle who not only did not help him in his studies, but made him work hard without pay,” Luckens explained. “I promised myself that I would never let my child go through this situation, but when I understood that I could help dozens of children to get out of this life of slavery, I immediately understood that it was a vocation to pursue.”
For Luckens, an average day at the office is often spent out of the office. As a child advocate, he conducts school visits regularly, meets with children and families at their homes when possible, and supervises lessons through Restavek Freedom’s tutoring program.
When asked what he enjoys most about working with Restavek Freedom, Luckens said it is the feeling of fulfilling a social duty – of “getting involved in creating a better future for a special social group, and above all the pleasure of feeling appreciated and admired by the children.”
But this work isn’t easy, and many days are hard. “My experience with Restavek Freeom has shown me how much the restavek system can hurt a child, and sometimes we [child advocates] feel the sadness of the child take place in us,” Luckens said. “This is where it becomes hardest.”
In addition to working as a full-time child advocate for Restavek Freedom, Luckens is also studying law at the State University of Haiti. “I want to acquire the legal knowledge necessary to better defend the rule of law and social justice in Haiti,” he said.
We are so thankful to have strong-hearted people like Luckens on our team to help fight for social justice and show the children we serve that they are not alone. To learn more about Luckens and our team in Haiti, visit restavekfreedom.org.