Jack is 15 years old and in the fourth grade. Both his mother and father died when he was very young and now he lives with his aunt. She tries to give him a decent life, but she has her own children to take care for. Jack has many duties in the house. Where he lives, it’s a community of uncles, aunts and cousins. He has to fetch water for them all every day. They send him to run their errands at the boutique (store) and market, multiple times each day and sometimes even at night. He isn’t allowed to say anything, because he’s the only one in his community who doesn’t have parents.
His Aunt, who is his primary caretaker, sent him to school without paying his tuition. The principal of his school took pity on Jack and allowed him to stay, because he knew about Jack’s poor living situation. In order to even have one of his three needed books and a uniform, Jack was made to sell bags of water in the afternoon after class. It was difficult for him to progress in school, because he didn’t have the time or the books to study. At the end of the school year the principal told Jack he would have to repeat the grade. Jack was very disappointed about this…all he wanted was to be like the other kids and do well in school!
Jack is now enrolled in the Restavek Freedom advocacy program. He really likes school, has all of his books and no longer has to sell water to be able to get them. He has time to study and is progressing quickly. His dream is to finish school and become an engineer. His living situation isn’t perfect, but he knows that getting an education will help to change that.
Many children in my country live in the restavek system. Thank you for giving to this program that gives hope to children like Jack. Together, we can end the system of restavek!
Nathacha Lucien, Child Advocate
Thursday, October 16, 2014 11:01:19 AM
Jannice is an adolescent girl that lives in a shelter made by the people in her neighborhood in Leogane. Her mother and her father are separated and she lives with her mother. This beautiful young woman reached the 9th grade and was forced to discontinue her education due to the inability of her family to pay her tuition. Her father, who worked in a bakery, had an accident. While he was passing the dough in the grinder, it took his fingers and left him with just the thumb and the little finger. As a result, he no longer had a job.
Jannice’s mother had a car accident that crushed her feet rendering her unable to walk. Thanks to God, she now can walk but she does not have a job. She is pictured above with the purse under her arm.
I met with Jannice and recruited her in our educational program last year so she could continue to go to school. The problem she had was that her birth certificate was being held by the last school she attended until she paid them 2,000 GD ($50. USD). Neither her father nor her mother would be able to pay this money. Since a birth certificate is required to take the state exam she would not qualify. Jannice became discouraged and decided not to continue to go to school. She assumed that since she’s not taking the state exam, going to school was a waste of time and money. The director of the School where I had placed her tried his best to help her. Finally, her mother borrowed 2,000 gourdes from a neighbor and she was able to pay the old school in order to receive the birth certificate. As the deadline given by the Ministere de L’education Nationale (The state department of the national Education) had reached its end, the school director contacted someone to enlist their help and they were able to help add her name to the list of students that would take the exam.
I am so happy we were able to help. Because RFF took the responsibility to help her continue to go to school, she now has hope and can focus on her dreams to become someone with great value in the future.
I made a home visit with Jannice to encourage her to go back to school and to let her know that the director and I are working on her case in order for her to be able to take the state exam. When I arrived, her grandmother bowed down on her knees to thank me because I took the girl’s case into consideration. I felt so deeply touched by that. I wept inside and I took her hands and had her stand up while letting her know it’s a privilege that we have to help the ones God wants to help through education and other. Her mother was speechless and she felt if she could she would carry me on her head. But I let her understand all glory belongs to God and to God only. The good news is, Jannice took the state exam and she passed it. Now she is in 3rd grade secondary.
This is something that I realize: Thanks to the Restavek Freedom Foundation’s educational program, many domestic children in Haiti have a chance, an opportunity to view life different, have a better understanding of what it’s all about and enough audacity to dream big.
Osbert Victor, Child Advocate
Friday, October 03, 2014 10:52:10 AM
Their Joy is Our Joy
Bezeline was a second grader when she joined our program in 2011. When we first found her, she was living in an orphanage because her mother simply could not afford to meet her essential needs. Last year, Bezeline’s older brother was able to find work and offer her a place to live. Bezeline was then able to live her life without wondering when she would have another opportunity to eat or how she would find a uniform for school. However, this change was short-lived. When I was informed earlier this year that Bezeline had been absent from school for several weeks, I immediately called her to find out what was happening. She told me that her brother had lost his job, and he could not afford to buy her a new pair of new shoes. The pair she owned was torn, and they cost ten Haitian dollars to repair; her brother couldn’t afford to fix them. So she was forced to stay at home, while hoping that her brother would find the money. We had an appointment with her at school, and we could actually see that her shoes were completely torn and her feet were almost naked.
While she was talking to me about this situation she was facing, her voice showed how sad she was, and embarrassed about the situation. After my interview with her by telephone, I decided to go out and get her new shoes. Something as simple as a pair of shoes allowed her to regain her confidence. Bezeline is excited to go back to school after being gone and to see her friends again.
When we make a child happy, we are filled with happiness; their joy is our joy.
If you would like to help give a child like Bezeline a pair of shoes, visit https://restavekfreedom.org/estore/all
Robenson Saint-Hilaine, Child Advocate
Monday, September 22, 2014 5:20:00 PM