The Life of a Restavek Child
The daily tasks of a Restavek child begin early and end late. A Restavek does not have time for play, let alone an education. At the age of five, each day, a Restavek child prepares food, washes dishes, disposes of garbage, collects and transports water, sweeps the compound, and assists adults in their work.
When she is six, washing dishes, running errands, and tending animals are added to her daily chores. A quarter of Restaveks of this age are exposed to household chemicals in their daily work. Over half of them use hot stoves, open fires, and sharp objects, and with each year that passes, they are more likely to be assigned these age-inappropriate tasks. By the age of eleven, 90% of Restaveks spend their time doing this dangerous work.
A Restavek is unpaid for her labor. She endures abuse. She is exploited by a system that preys on her poverty and her vulnerability. She cannot leave because she has no other home and no other family to which she can go. The constant household work does not stop… until after her childhood has already passed her by.
Haiti Now is making it our mission to step in before that happens, providing these young girls with housing, security, education, and the opportunity for growth. Regardless of age or educational background, each girl in the Haiti Now accelerated education program will attain a sixth-grade diploma in just three years. Haiti Now will ensure that these girls not only have a safe, welcoming place to call their own but also all the resources they need to heal and empower themselves.
Learn what you can do to make the Haiti Now accelerated school and safe house a reality. Through giving, advocacy, and volunteering, you can stop the cycle of abuse in its tracks and provide Restavek girls with a promising future.
Written by Emily Fogel Conway for Ayiti Now Corp
1. FAFO Respondent Common Tasks