Did you know that because of both violence and AIDS, Haiti has the highest percentage of orphans of any country in the Western Hemisphere? Also, more than 10% of all children in Haiti die before the age of five. (http://facts.randomhistory.com/haiti-facts.html)
Elizna is a seven year old girl from Haiti. She lives with her mom’s aunt and has one sister who is three years old. Elizna often comes to school with holes in her clothes and no one cleans her or helps her get ready for school. Since her aunt does not have a job, Elizna and her sister do not get fed regularly at home.
In fact, most of the kids that come to this VisionTrust program in Haiti are malnourished. This means that they don’t get enough food to eat. The workers there are praying for a church partner that would make it possible to start a feeding program.
Elizna and her family speak a Creole language and live in a tourist community. That means that people come from other places to vacation in Montrouis where they live because it is very beautiful. However, in the midst of the expensive resorts, there is so much poverty for families like Eliznas.
In fact, many of the children VisionTrust works with in Haiti are Restavec children. (A restavec from the French language French reste avec, “one who stays with”) is a child in who is sent by his or her parents to work for a host household as a domestic servant because the parents lack the resources required to support the child. Restavec may refer to any child staying with a host family, but usually refers specifically to those who are abused.
VisionTrust just began working in the community of Montrouis, Haiti this year. They work with a school that meets in a church. There are over 100 kids so the program is bursting at the seams. Slowly a school building is being built to accommodate so many children. In Haiti they start building with whatever money they have, so there are frequently projects that are never finished or are half-finished for a long time.
Having the school for the children in the community is huge. It’s a place where they can learn about Jesus and be loved on by teachers when they’re not loved or cared for at home. All the teachers there are really passionate about helping the kids learn and grow. While they don’t receive food on a regular basis right now, VisionTrust is sometimes able to provide a meal for the children.
Think about the clothes, food, and love that you receive every day? Can you imagine even going one day without the things you need? The children in Haiti often don’t have enough food, clean clothes, or attention from parents.
What would it be like to be sent away from your family to be a servant for another family? What kinds of tasks do you think Restavac children do? They often aren’t able to go to school and are not paid for their work. Do you think that is fair? What do you think you could do to help advocate for these children?
Fun Facts about Haiti:
Gourds were so important to the Haitian people that in 1807, President Henri Christophe (1761-1820) made them the base of national currency and declared all gourds the property of the state. Today, the Haitian currency is called “gourdes.” (http://facts.randomhistory.com/haiti-facts.html)
Pray for some American churches to partner with the new school in Haiti so they can finish the building and start a feeding program.
Ways you can get involved:
As Spring approaches, think about ways you could earn money to help these Restavac children in Haiti. Perhaps you could sell some clothes or toys in a garage sale, start a lemonade stand and send the proceeds to Haiti, or ask your parents if you can do some extra chores around the house to send money to these children who need food.
“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” 1 John 3:17