Ede Nou Ekonomikman
In Haiti, many rural families lack basic resources such as education for their children. A practice called restavèk occurs which is a practice of rural families who, wanting an education that is not available in their communities, send their children to large towns and cities such as Jacmèl and Port-au-Prince, with the expectation that the families receiving their children will send them to school. All too often these children are not sent to school, and are required to complete difficult and dangerous household chores. Often mistreated, and disconnected from their families of birth, these children are denied a chance to have a thriving childhood, grow up in a loving and caring family, receive an education and / or develop the traits necessary to grow into a happy, healthy adult. Currently it is estimated that there are more than 300,000 of these children living in Haiti.
Limyè Lavi (Light of Life) is a leading Haitian non-profit that focuses its efforts on children’s rights in Haiti. Now 20 years old, we are active in 9 communities in the South East Department that are known to send their children into the restavèk system. We have 15 employees (pedagogical educators, agriculturalists, social workers, administration and finance professionals) and have an annual operating budget of $250,000us in 2015.
Working to improve access to quality education and increased agricultural income in order to prevent the flow of children from these rural areas to the cities of the restavèk system,Limye Lavi has developed a strategy called the Model Community Initiative to prevent the root causes that compel people to send their children into the restive system. To this end, Limyè Lavi is:
- Creating schools and educating older children. (LL has: created three educational networks (3) encompassing 30 schools (6542 students and 196 teachers and administrators) to conduct pedagogical teacher training; Implemented accelerated classes so children aged 9-17 who haven’t gone to school, can complete 6 years of education in 3 years.)
- Developing Psychosocial Support for families whose children have returned home from working as child domestic laborers.
- Supporting the communities in implementing agro-economic activities to increase agricultural production and additional income, enabling families to take better care of themselves and their children. Some of communities have mutual Solidarity micro-saving groups with 99 members who contribute and borrow among themselves.
- Establishing School Garden Projects in three different communities to integrate cultural learning into the schools and lives of the students.
- Addressing the Psychosocial stress and trauma experienced in families who send their children into the restavek practice with the Help of CESSA (Center for Spirituality and Mental Health)
- Strengthening rural communities that have sent children into servitude, sending trained staff to work directly in these nine communities and strengthening community leadership and organization, focusing on women and local leaders.
- Creating children’s rights committees (average of 43 members per 9 committees) to protect and defend children’s rights, and support families to raise their children in their rural, home communities.
- More children going to school for the first time (177 children in 6 centers)
- More children passing their national school exams
- Schools hiring more and better-trained teachers
- More parents paying school fees
- More parents bringing their children home safely from working in the restavèk system.
One example: One school, Meno, has succeeded in becoming certified by the Haitian Ministry of Education, who will now assume responsibility for the school’s operating budget. This speaks not only to our successes in developing Haiti’s educational infrastructure, but also to the government’s willingness to recognize our work.
WHAT LIMYÈ LAVI NEEDS TO HELP HAITIAN CHILDREN
To continue and expand our work in Haiti, and to stabilize and diversify our funding base, Limye Lavi now seeks new funders who can support our work for the next three to five years.
This financial stability will
- Help Limyè Lavi continue the work it’s doing in the rural communities to strengthen women’s rights as leaders of their families, as ones who are raising their children, and who play a significant role in keeping the children from entering the restavèk system
- Create enterprises for community members, including micro-saving programs. Limyè Lavi currently maintains a mutual solidarity fund and is increasing its use in the rural communities and implementing further business training
- Hold trainings about domestic finances, child rearing and family planning
FINANCING FROM YOU WILL HELP LIMYE LAVI TO:
- increase the work it’s doing with women in rural communities in Haiti to specifically diminish / eliminate the number of children living in the restavèk system. In Haiti, women play a big role in continuing the practices of the restavèk system since they are often the ones who don’t have enough economic means to nourish their families and often they are the heads of single parent households. They are the ones having the children, and giving them into the restavèk system. By increasing women’s ability to earn more money, Limyè Lavi is giving them the opportunity to manage their families better
- facilitate important exchanges between rural communities Limyè Lavi working with. Funds we are requesting would directly impact the work we’re doing in at least two communities
- decrease the number of children living in the restavèk system since it is because of the economic stresses that experienced in their families, continuing the practice of the restavèk system.
Limyè Lavi is looking forward to discussing our work with you and explore a coordinated effort to help children in Haiti.
We need 180,000.00$US to complete our annual budget to continue with this great work.
We need you!
The Limyè Lavi team