Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lifrane and Cinderella: Hope for Restaveks

  Restavek is the Haitian culturally acceptable solution to child welfare.  It means literally "to live with" and ranges anywhere from benevolent foster care to child slavery.  Generally restaveks fall somewhere in the middle, finding themselves in an indentured servitude situation.

A while back I blogged about Lifrane a child I knew from several years back.  At the time that I blogged Lifrane was living as a restavek.  However, currently, he is back with his parents in Seguin.  Praise the Lord they are reunited.  Here is updates my sister wrote about on her blog regarding his sister Moudline and the resolution of the story.

Also a while back I blogged about Cinderella, our neighbor girl. I've never given an update on her story on my blog.  Living next to Cinderella was extremely difficult. Chris and I struggled with knowing the best way to care for her.  We decided the most effective approach would be to draw closer to her guardians, allow our home to be a safe haven for her, if only for an hour a day, and try to learn as much as we could about her situation.  There were a few very difficult days when we walked the fine moral line of neighborly care vs. intervention.  I cared for her deeply and only through constant prayer was I able to love her without "rescuing" her prematurely.  At some point in late November Cinderella was simply gone.  The story we were told was that her mother had died and she had traveled to Cap Haitian to be with her family for the funeral.  We kept hearing she would return but as of early March she hadn't returned.  We weren't given sufficient time to learn more of her story.  But we were given sufficient time for our hearts to swell with care and concern for her.

The restavek situation in Haiti is complex but we were given the privilege to build a relationship with an organization addressing the complex problem in a culturally sensitive and effective manner.
Respire Haiti
Here's an excerpt from their website:

Respire Haiti’s route for ending the Restavek crisis is through education and relationship.  The reality that Respire Haiti has faced is that if we try to immediately remove every child from the situation they are in, we are just increasing the problem.  The families and caregivers with Restaveks will just find another child to serve them.  Instead, we have chosen to raise awareness about the Restavek situation in Haiti and the United States and have chosen to educate our community about this situation.  Through educating Gressier about the Restavek Situation and using scripture and God’s love for children, we are able to create a better awareness of equality for these children and essentially CHANGE the mentality of our community.  Through establishing a relationship with the people in Gressier who are involved in the culturally accepted practice of Restavek we are given a voice that is heard.

Many of our supporters have expressed interest in how they can effectively help end child slavery in Haiti.  Many supporters have also expressed interest in supporting a child.  I would highly recommend Respire Haiti as a place to donate funds or sponsor a child.

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