Restavek Freedom Foundation
RFF Conducts a Census: BergerThis week, the RFF census staff...

RFF Conducts a Census: Berger

This week, the RFF census staff piled into the back of a white Nissan pickup truck and traveled the rocky route up to Berger, one of the higher-elevation zones of Port Salut.  This is just past Douyon, the birthplace of former Haitian President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Berger is home to many land cultivators, and a high proportion of its residents make a living by harvesting vertiver, a root used in perfumes. Because many of the homes in Berger are remote and tucked away high into the steep folds of the mountains, family members may walk up to 4 hours round-trip to get water at the closest source, according to census interviews. Such time commitments are not unique to Berger, though, as census interviews throughout other zones of Port Salut have revealed that many residents believe their community would benefit from improved access to water. Berger residents have named road construction and electricity as priorities as well. As RFF continues to collect data from the census, the organization is learning more about parents and the difficulties that often lead parents to send their children into restavek. 

Andrea Van Grinsven,

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 10:00:09 AM

Anna’s Story

My story is about Anna, a 15 year-old girl who has been in our program since July 2013. Last year Anna completed the 5th grade and is very excited to be taking the state exam this year.

Ever since she was a baby, Anna has lived with a woman unrelated to her (whom she calls her “aunt”).  She knows nothing about her biological family and very little about how she came to live with this woman, other than being told that she was found as a baby in front of the woman’s house. Apparently the woman took her in and has raised her ever since. Fortunately Anna is not treated too poorly, although she has many responsibilities at home.  She is made to complete all of the chores herself despite the fact that her “aunt” has two other children. She receives help from her aunt only on weekends.

In addition to the challenges presented by her living situation, Anna also suffers from pain in her feet.  She has lived with this pain for a long time, and it prevents her from walking normally.  The family she lives with does not have the money to take Anna to the hospital, and this disability has caused her to miss a lot of school and get made fun of by the other kids.  

Anna is very courageous, however, and despite her many challenges she consistently performs at the top of her class.  This year she is even volunteering in our summer program! I very much admire Anna; she is very smart and well-mannered, and is constantly improving.  Anna has a lot of dreams, and hopes one day to be able to walk without a problem.  I hope that by hearing this story you are inspired. No matter what setbacks you have in life, you can succeed!

Francoise Leon,

Thursday, July 23, 2015 10:00:08 AM

Students in Southern Haiti in Support of Environmental...

Students in Southern Haiti in Support of Environmental Protection

On Friday, June 5, Haitian schoolchildren marched seven kilometers from Port-à-Piment to Ecole Saint-Andre in support of the environment. Lining up downtown with signs and banners, the students began the march, pausing at an environmental education exhibit for an opening ceremony that introduced the program and honored environmentally conscious students. After hiking through the river basin between the mountains, the students concluded their walk at Ecole Saint-Andre, where environmental organizations posted informational posters about endangered plants and animals and engaged students with musical and theatrical performances related to the environment. Due to the prevalence of deforestation and growing number of endangered species, environmental NGOS in the area have prioritized environmental education for students as a means of prevention and preservation. Promoting environmentally sustainable habits and values within rising generations will have a direct payoff for the Southern population in which many rely on land cultivation to support their families. 

Andrea Van Grisven,

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 9:37:37 AM

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