Restavek Freedom Foundation
Samantha Sees Hope


In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear,
but one of power and of love and of a sound mind.” In our last staff meeting, I
realized that this verse really applies to our work, and is particularly true
regarding the life of Samantha*.

After all of the problems Samantha had faced while living with a
lady who had no prior relationship to her, Samantha’s aunt, who lives in
Dominican Republic, came to see her. Only God knows why she chose this time to
visit. Her aunt was so surprised by how Samantha was being treated that she decided
to rent a room for her and said she would try to send Samantha money for the
rest of the school year. Samantha
was very excited by this because it meant she wouldn’t sleep in the backyard
anymore, and she wouldn’t have to do so many chores without having anything to
eat. Additionally, Restavek Freedom would continue to sponsor her education
and give her food each month so she could find the energy to keep going. Samantha
is very responsible and understands that school is the only way for her to
change her life and create a better future for herself, so this change of
events meant a lot.

I can see God’s hand in helping this child find a better way to
live. Samantha’s life shows me that when we do our best to help the most
vulnerable, when we fight for them to live free and better lives, it’s like God
is working through us to make changes in this world.

*Child’s name has been
changed to protect their privacy.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016 3:00:12 PM

“Stand Up for FREEDOM!!!”

 

Ending the restavek system in Haiti
requires intervention both with children and adults. We have found that
engaging adults through literacy programs is a key way to help propagate
positive messages about the treatment of children.  

We recently held a special event for
both the adults from our literacy class, as well as host parents of children
from our advocacy program.  The theme of
this event was .  Our goal was
to sensitize the adults and host parents towards children’s rights and
encourage responsible families, in order to have a Haiti without restavek.

The day of the event came, and as we
engaged the adults in conversation, we encouraged them to take responsibility
as parents.  This was followed by a
wonderful presentation by Jacquelin, a social worker.  He presented to the adults about children’s
rights, and asked the parents questions such as, “What is a child?” and “What
does family mean for a child?”  At the
end of his presentation, he encouraged the audience to repeat the following
words as a commitment:

I then showed the parents a picture
of the Restavek Freedom logo, and asked them to stand up and share what they
saw in the logo.  The adults began to
share: “In the Restavek Freedom logo, I see two kids…”  “…They are standing up hand in hand…”  “One of them has his hand raised…”  

I then spoke to the adults and said,
“I am happy that you understand the Restavek Freedom logo.  You have a responsibility as parents to
protect the kids, and to create a better environment for them so that they are
all treated well.  If you agree, let’s
say it together: ‘Stand up for Freedom!’”

The adults then repeated in a loud
collective voice, “STAND UP FOR FREEDOOOOOOOM!”

We concluded the evening with a
wonderful performance by the Zoukoutap theatre actors.  Their act centered around children’s rights
and responsible families as well.  Their
performance captured the attention of the audience, and we could hear the
audience reacting to their drama, saying things like, “

It was, all in all, a wonderfully
effective event.  The adults participated
and asked questions, and were really engaged with the message to end the
restavek system!  


Friday, June 24, 2016 9:44:55 AM

Sejour’s Life is Changed

By Daniel Fontil,
Child Advocate

I want to share with
you the story of Sejour’s life, as she shared it with me.

Sejour* was found and recruited into the Child
Advocacy Program in August of last year by one of our Child Advocates, Nathacha.
Now that I am her Child Advocate, I always take time to talk with her when I
visit her school, and she always wants to thank me for her education and for
the other support she has received from Restavek Freedom.  At first I could not understand why she kept
thanking me.

One day, I got to her school and had a meeting
with her.  Before I began asking how
things were going, I wanted to know how she viewed life.  So, we spent some time talking about life and
how a life can change.  I was amazed as I
listened to her share her story.

First, she told me
that life is being able to struggle.  Life
is fighting with ourselves, and with others….but not everybody has the ability
to struggle.  For example, a baby needs its
parents’ support, and a student needs his or her teacher’s support.  “If each person has someone to support them, who is going to support
people who are mistreated, like me?” she asked. She did not give me time
to answer the question, because she had the answer.

She started
explaining her life before she had been recruited into the Child Advocacy
Program. She said:

I can testify that Sejour
has experienced great changes in her life. I believe as Restavek Freedom works
towards transforming lives just like this one in Haiti, the country will improve,
and people whose lives have been changed will have opportunities to change
others’ lives as well.  I have seen that
Restavek Freedom is doing more than talking…yes, we are working to end child
slavery in Haiti.

*Child’s name has
been changed to protect their privacy.


Thursday, June 23, 2016 2:51:21 PM

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