ALEXANDRA- A TWELVE-YEAR OLD RESTAVEK

Posted: January 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

Restavek is a form of modern-day slavery that persists in Haiti, affecting one in every 15 children. Typically born into poor rural families, restavek children are often given to relatives or strangers. In their new homes, they become domestic slaves, performing menial tasks for no pay.

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Alexandra

Alexandra is twelve, she is a restavek. She gets up at 6:00 AM each morning to cook, clean, wash dishes, do laundry by hand, and do chores for the family that she lives with. They’re her extended family, but she doesn’t know how they’re related, “They’re just cousins,” she says. Her mother died, but she isn’t sure when and of what. Her father lives out in the village; he has a few animals and a parcel of land that he farms with her two brothers. She has a sister somewhere in Port au Prince who she says does the same work that she does but for another family. She thinks that it has been about a year since she left her father and brothers, although she isn’t really sure. She doesn’t think that she’ll ever see them or her sister again. She isn’t all that animated when talking about her family, it’s more like, ‘Here I am, and this is my life.’

Alexandra has found her way to the literacy class at the Heartline Women’s Education Center. When asked how she heard about the class or who brought her, she says, “A lady told me about the program and brought me, but I don’t remember her name.” The other students are adult women, twelve-year old Alexandra certainly sticks out. Still she comes each day.

When asked what she would like to be when she grows up she says that she would like to be a nurse. This twelve-year old girl, who has never been to school, and who is a restavek wants to be a nurse.

Is it possible? Can this happen? Can she become a nurse? She will need help, she will need advocates, she will need those that believe in her.  The seed to move forward is there.  It can be seen in her face, in her determination to learn. I know this because this twelve-year girl, who has never been to school, who couldn’t read or write is here at Heartline doing what she can to begin the journey to reach her goal.

Each lady in that class has a story.  A story of being told that she will never learn to read or write. A story of being told that she’s too stupid. A story of being told that there’s not enough money to send her to school.

We are working to change these stories to:

I can do all things because of Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Yes, that means even becoming a nurse.

Click  hereto help us help others, like Alexandra, to reach their dreams.

 

Sheila Lynch

Guest Blogger

 

 

 

 

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