Restavek Freedom Foundation
Stand Up Against the Restavek System

A restavek is a child who is sent or sold by their parents to work in a host household as a domestic servant, because the parents lack the resources required to support the child. In this situation the child is mistreated, neglected, and often abused emotionally, physically, and sexually.                                                                                              
By working as a child advocate with kids who are in the restavek system, I’ve learned that a child really can’t have a good living situation without love, education, attention, and appreciation, whether he is from the city or from the countryside.

As the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says, these children need to survive. They have the right to eat, to rest, and to escape the pain. They need protection and security. They need to belong, to be accepted, and to be part of a group they can claim as their own. They have a need for recognition. They have a right to achieve their full potential.

In our society, we are used to seeing children who do not go to school and who are mistreated. The restavek child knows no physical security, has no private space, and is subject to various violent or sexual assaults. The child is not an integral part of his or her family’s “home”. Restavek children are often devalued, and they can’t achieve their full potential because they receive no education or vocational training.

For the past three months, I have worked with these children. I see them every week. I tell them that I share their anxieties and fears.  I see the importance of the work we do with them. We help them to become more confident in themselves and to have hope. We give them love and attention; we work to give them a better future.

That is why I am proud, so proud, of my work with these kids who are called “restavek”, because I know that I am doing something very important that will serve the next generation.


Natacha Desir,


Wednesday, July 01, 2015 9:10:59 AM

A note from Natacha

A restavek is a child who is sent or sold by their parents to work for a host household as a domestic servant because the parents lack the resources required to support the child. In this situation the child is mistreated, neglected, and abused emotionally, physically, and sexually.                                                                                              
By working with the kids who are in the restavek system as a child advocate, I’ve learned that a kid can’t have a good living situation without love, education, attention, and appreciation, whether he is from the city or countryside.
As the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says, the children need to survive. They have the right to eat, to rest, to escape the pain. They need protection and security. They need to belong, to be accepted, and to be part of a group they claim as their own. They have a need for recognition. They need to achieve their full potential.
In our society we are used to seeing children who do not go to school and who are mistreated.                    The restavek child knows no physical security, has no private space, and is subject to various violent or sexual assaults. The child is not an integral part of his family’s “home”.                 Domestic children are often devalued, and they can’t achieve their full potential because they receive no education or vocational training.
For these three months, I worked with these children. I see them every week. I tell them that I share their anxieties and their fears. I realize the great and important work we do with them. We help them to become more confident in themselves and to have hope. We give them love and attention; we work to give them a better future.
That’s why I am proud, so proud, of my work with these kinds of kids who are called “Restavek” because I know that I am doing something useful that will serve for the coming generation.

Natacha D,


Monday, June 29, 2015 10:00:05 AM

Even the darkest day shines

Everywhere in the world someone is born. Everywhere in the world something happens. Since my childhood, people have always told me that life is a gift from God, and that God is love and our creator. But I can’t stop questioning why there are so many poor people in the world while many others are rich and don’t care about the poor; why my day is different than the day of my cousin; why I have to do everything at home; why I am the one they treat badly. And I realize that I am not the only one who is mistreated, and my cousin isn’t the only one that is treated like a princess. I conclude that if God is really who they told me He is, there is a misunderstanding somewhere.
One day, I woke up at 4 in the morning and I did all chores at home. Usually, I make coffee for everyone at home. I clean inside of the house by sweeping the floor, mopping, and covering the beds. I clean the yard. I have to fill 10 receptacles of 5 gallons of water per day, five in the morning and the other five in the afternoon. I have to clean the dishes. By the time I do dishes, my cousin Hans wakes up and sends me to buy bread for him. When I come back, while I try to continue doing dishes, my cousin Darla asks me to buy a can of milk for her to mix with her coffee. I’m back to the dishes, and when I am washing a crystal plate, I look at my face on it and I see my pain and my sadness.
While I think about how my life would be if my parents were alive, my aunt yells at me. I am so surprised that the plate falls and breaks. By the time I realize what happen, my aunt hits me on the head with a big spoon. She curses at me. She asks me to get lost from her house. I couldn’t say anything because I have nowhere to go. I wasn’t discouraged, but I couldn’t stop crying.  I have to swallow any kind of bitter pills because I am a restavek. I can’t stop asking myself when this situation will stop.
Immediately she sends me to the market to buy items for cooking. While I am on my way, I keep crying. I can’t stop thinking about my bad situation. I start buying the products and a lady approaches and comforts me after I tell her what is wrong with me. That day I started to think about harming myself, but God sent someone to help me. She explained to me what kind of work she did, and she made me feel confident because she told me that she knew how to approach my aunt so that she would let me go to school. I felt that my dream to go to school came true. I realized that the things that I knew about God were true. God put comforting people on the paths of the vulnerable ones. That’s why I say a big THANK you to God and then to Restavek Freedom for helping me to go to school.

Nathacha E. Lucien,


Tuesday, June 23, 2015 3:23:18 PM

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