Borne of desperation and perpetuated by poverty, Haiti's most vulnerable girls are exploited. Every Restavek girl deserves care.
The majority of Haitian citizens live below the poverty line and too many live on less than $2 per day. Life is difficult and uncertain for many, especially children. Those as young as six-years-old often find themselves contributing to their family’s subsistence. It is no surprise, then, that poor and desperate parents would send their children to host-families with the promise of better living conditions and educational opportunities.
In reality, these children are overworked, neglected, and mistreated. Without the affection and support of a family, they often endure physical abuse and emotional trauma. Lacking opportunities to play, bond, and grow with their peers, their development suffers. Working long hours and unable to regularly attend school, any chance of a decent future is dim.
The life of a Restavek child is marked by abandonment, isolation, fear, neglect, abuse, and exploitation.
1 out of every 4 Haitian children aged 5 through 17 are unpaid child domestic workers
Domestic Servitude Is Driven by Poverty
The Restavek phenomenon persists due to Haiti’s extreme poverty and widespread struggle for survival. These issues are deeply rooted and resilient. As such, short-term solutions are inadequate. For example, although family reunification is a virtuous goal, families often cannot be found or they remain unable to adequately care for their children. Despite this complex situation, together we can make a difference. We have developed a long-term solution, The Residential School, to house, educate, and empower former Restavek girls to achieve economic security. Learn more about our Child Protection Policy. Learn more about How The Residential School Program Works.