Project #245 | More than a Survivor: Ending Child Slavery in Haiti
Our Partnership with Beyond Borders
An estimated 407,000 children are living in domestic slavery in Haiti. These children, usually between six and seventeen years old, are exploited as household servants, and many experience emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. This practice, known as restavèk, is fueled by poverty, inadequate access to education, and prevailing social norms and attitudes. Parents believe that they can send their children to live with other families who will care for them and send them to school. Often, however, their children are forced to do heavy household labor, abused, and not sent to school.
We partnered with Beyond Borders to liberate children from domestic slavery, reunite them with families, and educate community members and government officials about the harms perpetuated by restavèk. Survivors are invited to join a Survivor Restavèk Network through which they receive training on child rights and advocate for an end to child slavery. In this way, survivors are empowered to become teachers, advocates and change-makers. Through our partnership, 71 children were liberated from slavery. The first choice for vulnerable children is reunification with their biological families. When this was not possible, Beyond Borders places children in carefully vetted and trained foster families, either temporarily or longer term.
Our Collective Impact
CHILDREN LIBERATED FROM CHILD SLAVERY
MEMBERS OF RESTAVEK NETWORK SUPPORTED
COMMUNITY MEMBERS WITH INCREASED AWARENESS
Saintgele is the head of household in a Welcoming Family that cares for children liberated from domestic slavery in Haiti.
Her reason for caring for vulnerable children is deeply personal: “When I was a child, I went to live with a female friend of my father’s. The worst thing that happened to me was that I didn’t go to school. I worked with her. One day, I looked around and realized I was doing the job of an adult. I became a member of the Adult Survivors’ Network. I learned to talk about things that happened to me so that I don’t repeat them. There is more love in my home.”
Eventually Saintgele was invited to join the Child Protection Brigade. She is now the head of a Welcoming Family that cares for child survivors of domestic slavery who are not able to be reunited with their families. She shares, “When I was asked to become a foster mom, I was so proud! The terrible things I experienced living in restavèk motivated me to help others.”
Thank you for making this possible!
Our movement is grassroots, to us that not only means the work on the ground is led by local leaders with the support of the community, but it also means that we raise the funds for our projects through everyday donors just like you. In addition to all the donors that gave $25, $100, or $250 and the campaigners that ran a race or donated their birthday to raise funds, we also want to thank our generous business, school, and faith sponsors who believed in our work and joined the movement.
If you want to support future projects like this you can make a donation to the fund below.