Just a two-hour plane ride from Miami…
It's hard to believe that there are children that go through life without a single tender touch. Or that cowhide whips are bought on street corners so that they can be used on children who don't complete the chores most adults don't want to shoulder.
Yet this is the real life of a restavek child. And there are more than 300,000 of them living in Haiti today.
Restavek is a Creole term which literally means "stay with." An accurate term in that these children do stay with their hosts, working as domestic servants in exchange for a roof over their head, some leftover food and, supposedly, the ability to go to school. In practice, though, the restaveks are easy prey for exploitation. Many are beaten, sexually abused and frequently denied access to education, since many host families believe that schooling will only make them less obedient.
The Restavek Foundation exists to bring an end to child slavery in Haiti. We're here because we believe that a broken system can be fixed. We believe that education and love will replace the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that comes from ignorance. And we believe that if we give these children a voice, we can give them hope for a better future.
You may have seen the CNN segment on Jean-Robert Cadet and his foundation designed to help children in domestic servitude in Haiti. It was heartbreaking but the reality for far too many children on the island.