C h i l d r e n • F a m i l i e s
“God designed family as the best place for a child to grow.”
Christian Alliance for Orphans
In Haiti, it is estimated that 10% of the children are living in ‘Restavek’.
A restavek is a child in Haiti 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. The expectation is that the child will receive food and housing (and sometimes an education) in exchange for doing housework. However, many restaveks live in poverty and are at grave risk for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The restavek system is tolerated in Haitian culture, but not considered to be preferable. The practice meets formal international definitions of modern day slavery and child trafficking and affects an estimated 300,000 Haitian children.
Other children are outright abandoned or given up to the 1000’s of orphanages scattered across Haiti, many lack the ability to truly care for the children who live with them.
Healing Haiti believes children are made in God’s image and believes in the biblical definition of the family and that whenever possible, a child should be brought up by their parents, not in dormitories or orphanages.
We’ve learned this the hard way… through experience, caring for 62 children (12 true orphans, and 50 abandoned children) at Grace Orphanage over the last 4 years… first in dormitories and now in family style housing with a ‘mom and a dad’ to care, mentor and love them. Children need to feel valued and loved.
Our desire as an organization is to care for our children as God’s design for family. In August 2014 we opened the doors to family style homes at Grace Village. With the guidance of their Haitian parents the children are instructed to help with the cleaning, cooking, maintaining the household and their academic responsibilities. Our desire is for the children to know Jesus as their personal Savior in relationship with Him, to be safe within their Grace families, and to grow up to be men and women of integrity to be future leaders in Haiti.
Through the influence of TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention), Healing Haiti is working toward trauma informed care. Being aware that those who have endured trauma need intentional consistent care. As we learn about proven research on children from hard places, there is hope for healing in the life of a child. We know that the relationship of a family is vital for every child, from birth through adulthood.
For many children in Haiti at least one biological parent is alive and yet due to financial constraints their children live in orphanages. 80% of the children that occupy orphanages in Haiti have at least one living parent. As a ministry we are committed to reuniting biological children with their biological families. We have been blessed to see families reunited, we work with the parents to find employment and continue to send the children to school. Empowering parents to care for their children and providing opportunities for them to support their children aligns with God’s design of family.