Education program for Restavek children
The project aims at improving the living conditions of the children “domestic workers” in the area of Latiboliere and to reduce their exploitation through education and child rights advocacy.
In Haiti the chronic poverty situation of most of the population has serious repercussions on the vulnerability of many Haitian families and on the already fragile system of child protection.
Very often mothers remain alone with their children and are unable to assist them in their basic needs. There are many abandoned and orphaned children living with relatives with scarce economic resources.
These children are sent to more or less wealthy families as “restavek” domestic workers (that in the local language means “to stay with”) in exchange for hospitality and meals. In most of the cases, the children are obliged to do heavy work for many hours in the day in the house and in the fields and they don’t go to school. In this situation, they are easy victims to suffer other abuses and violence.
The Marist Brothers in Haiti run the secondary school “Collège Alexandre Dumas” in the Latoboliere area. Visiting the families, they discovered the situation of the restavek children. The Brothers negotiated with the families where the children are hosted so that they could attend an educational program at “Collège Alexandre Dumas” and started a program with the following activities:
- Primary school courses to offer them basic schooling (reading, writing, mathematics) based on to the didactic program established by the Government and enabling them to integrate later in the formal school.
- Sporting, artistic, recreational activities to help the children express themselves and acquire self esteem.
- Supplementary meal to avoid malnutrition, health problems, difficulties in learning.
- Health assistance.
- Birth certificate registration for those who have not been registered.
- Visits and awareness activities with the host families and, where possible, the families of origin to reduce the situation of exploitation of Restavek children.
100 boys and girls each year attended the program, have a school education and improved their living conditions.