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’.
Prior to the earthquake in 2010, there were an estimated 380,000 orphans in Haiti. Thousands were added to that number after the earthquake. Many lost both parents and relatives.
There are also about 300,000 restaveks, or children working as servants and often treated as slaves. Their parents send them to work for a host household in exchange for food and housing. Although this is a system the culture in Haiti tolerates, it amounts to modern-day slavery. The risk for abuse is obviously high in this situation.
God’s design for the family as the best model for raising children is our goal. A child should be raised by his or her family — not in an orphanage unless the child’s safety is at risk.
Grace Village opened its family-style homes in August 2014. In raising the future leaders of Haiti, we understand that these children need to be cared for, mentored and loved in the biblical definition of a family.
One of the sad realities we had to deal with was the fact that most of these children have endured trauma. The caregiving model must address this in such a way that whatever the source of the trauma, the child understands it is part of their past but doesn’t have to be part of their future.
At Grace Village, we employ the Trust-Based Relational Intervention method or TBRI. The three parts of TBRI are Connect, Empower and Correct:
– Connecting is done through play, active, and body language. Eye contact and getting on their level physically disarms the child’s fear and lays the foundation of trust.
– Empowering the child is necessary, in their traumatic events, they had no choice and no control. Giving them appropriate choices empowers them as individuals. Something as simple as the choice of their bedsheet color gives a sense of ownership over their space. At this point, the child is connected and empowered so the caregiver can correct.
– Correcting poor behavior is based on the belief that the behavior isn’t who the child is. Our God is a God of second chances. Giving the child another chance to try again, in a different way, gives them the tools to do the right thing.
The Christian Alliance for Orphans, or CAFO, agrees that social science supports what scripture has taught: “God designed family as the best place for children to grow.” Our mission is to support God’s design of the family by supporting parents with education and opportunities to raise healthy, godly children into healthy, godly adults.
The world is a better place when families are strengthened. Are you being called to help? Please visit our donation, sponsorship, and missions trips pages to learn more about how you can help Healing Haiti’s mission and put your talents to good use.