Restavek Freedom Foundation
Life in Port-Au-Prince

Port-Au-Prince
is the capital city of Haiti. It was founded in 1749, extends for 13.9 square
miles, and has a population of around 2.5 million people. It is the administrative
center of the 10 departments of Haiti, and most of the important social and
state institutions are located here. Here in Port-au-Prince, we have churches,
markets, hotels, restaurants, and so forth. The International Toussaint
Louverture Airport is located in Port-au-Prince as well.

Many
Haitian kids dream of living in Port-au-Prince. This is why, at the end of each
school year, many youth leave the countryside to move to Port-au-Prince to
attend university or search for work. They find more opportunities in
Port-au-Prince than in their villages.

Living
in Port-au-Prince costs a lot of money, as many of the services are expensive.
After the earthquake on January 12th, 2010, the living conditions in Haiti,
particularly Port-au-Prince, became very difficult. Social aspects of life in
Port-au-Prince changed a lot as a result of the earthquake.  However, we still have many awesome places to
visit in the city.

Port-au-Prince
is very important to many Haitians. It is one the better places in Haiti, because
we find everything we need to live here in the city.


Monday, July 25, 2016 2:42:59 PM

Compare Your Home to a Typical Home in Haiti


It’s no
surprise that when we leave the borders of the United States, we encounter
cultures and people that are often very different from what we are used to.
That is the beauty of travel: We get to learn about and come to appreciate the
customs and practices that differentiate people groups and make each of us
unique.

If you are an
American traveling to Haiti, you might be able to look around and notice
several differences right away in terms of landscape and visible cultural
differences. But what about those differences that you need to dig below the
surface in order to truly understand and appreciate? Well, no worries. We have
a short list of what makes our homes in America different than, or similar to,
the typical Haitian home.

1. Parental Roles


The cultural tide in America has changed in such a way that there are not
really distinct gender roles for parents anymore. Both parents can work
full-time, or one parent can work while the other is a stay-at-home parent.
Another shift is that, if one parent does stay at home, it is no longer
constrained to the mother, as many companies are offering paternity leave and the
culture is recognizing that it is equally acceptable for the father to be the
“house husband” as it is to be a stay-at-home mother.


However, when visiting Haiti, you will notice that gender roles within the
family still very much exist. Both parents are often counted on for generating
income, but most of the responsibility of providing for the family is placed on
the father’s shoulders, while the mother is considered in charge of raising
children and keeping the home in order.



2. Extended Family

Not many of us who were born and raised in the United States can say that we’ve
had the opportunity to live with our extended families. We tend to prefer
having our space, and for many of us, visiting family gives us a reason to take
trips throughout the year. Although it isn’t uncommon for our grandparents to
move in with us for a brief stint when their health begins to fail, in Haiti,
it is the cultural norm for generations of families to live together. Families
tend to live with each other either under the same roof, or under different
roofs on the same property.


Haitians also have a high regard for the elderly. They believe that the elderly
have garnered respect and accumulated a wealth of knowledge and wisdom
throughout their lifetimes that they can share with the people around them,
which is definitely a mindset that we can all stand to cultivate regarding the
aging demographic.

3. Education

The United States and Haiti both have a high view of education. The school
structures and education systems in Haiti and America are unique and
constructed differently, but both cultures appreciate high-performance in the
classroom and understand that a solid education can lead to greater
opportunities than one might have apart from it.




4. “Play Time”


In the United States, there are many children who would rather trade in their
tennis shoes for a video game console and controller. This hasn’t always been
the case, nor is it the only way kids in the U.S. “play.” Since technology has
evolved, though, so has the way a lot of children spend their free time.
However, in Haiti, passing hours in front of the television or computer screen
isn’t necessarily an option. You are far more likely to see kids from the
communities running around outside or playing soccer.


Have you
traveled to Haiti? Have you experienced first-hand some ways Haiti and the
United States differ or share cultural similarities? We would love to hear your
thoughts!



If you’d like to know more about what Restavek
Freedom is doing in Haiti, contact
us
 or visit
our website today
!


Thursday, July 21, 2016 3:26:07 PM

Now I Can Read My Name!


Our literacy
program is a place where people can learn how to read and write, in a country
where lack of education is a major issue.
The need for literacy training is huge in Haiti, where 64% of the
population is estimated to be illiterate.
The level of education is very low, and curriculum is not
standardized.  The last study on the restavek
system, published in December 2015 by the MAST, in partnership with multiple
NGO’s, demonstrated that 70% of children in Haiti show educational
underachievement.  These educational
problems prove serious when it comes to the socio-economic development of the
population, considering that quality of education in a country contributes to
personal and collective fulfillment.

As an
organization, Restavek Freedom is working directly with the most important root
of societal need.  A lack of education
causes the deepest problems in our society, as it produces a lack of
information, which leads to violence in many aspects, including violence against
children, women, and the environment. Most of the participants in our literacy
program are women, as we know that according to tradition in Haiti, girls were
the ones to do the domestic chores, and were many times asked to be a
“restavek” in someone’s house.

That being
said, we can’t ignore the damages of the restavek system on these women’s
lives.  In this case, the literacy
program provides them an education they never had the chance to receive, as
well as other special training.  One of
the women I met last month during our training on family planning said to me,
“I wish I had met you before, because I would have known how to better control
my life and not have so many children that I can’t take care of.”

We are
investing in people’s education, as well as preparing them to create a better
society for the next generation of children.
I will never forget the woman who came to me and said, “Nadine, I did not
know I was abusing the kids who are living with me, until you did this training
on children’s rights!”

At the
graduation of three of our literacy sites, the participants created powerful
skits showing the impact the program had had on them.  They acted out being more confident to go to
the hospital with their children and being able to participate in a parents’
meeting for their children.  They also
showed how education creates the opportunity for them to find jobs and feel
part of the society that they previously suffered exclusion from.

Finally, one
woman shared with me recently, “Before coming to this program, I could not
identify my name when it was written somewhere…now I can say  I appreciate each testimony these women share
with me.  They encourage me to not only
believe in our vision, but they also inspire me to continue working with them.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016 3:09:08 PM

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