She wakes at 4 a.m. to cook breakfast for a family that is not hers. She washes clothes she will never wear, and begins a day of chores that are too strenuous for a child her size. She carries the books of the family's children to school, but she will never attend. And at the end of the day, she will sleep on a concrete floor, under the kitchen table - unloved, unnoticed, less than a family dog. She will cry herself to sleep. She is only 6 years old.
She is a "Restavek" - Creole for "reste avec" or "rest with", but the reality is not so pleasant. Poor rural families who have too many mouths to feed will place their children with a relative or a wealthy stranger so that they might have a better life. Instead, these children are slaves, and since the children have no way to contact their parents, they will not know the truth. 1 in 15 children in Haiti are Restaveks. 60% of them are girls, who will often be raped or sexually abused. It is estimated that
Haiti is in the top ten of the countries where modern day slavery still exists. Parents are desperate to help their children have a better life, but with a 40% literacy rate, and unemployment as high as 90%, there are no means to provide.
A Villager's Hand has just partnered with artists in Haiti to help them reach the global market through fair trade. Our goal is to bring dignity through employment to at-risk parents and families. By providing sustainable employment to local artists, they can provide for their families and keep their children at home. By purchasing their products you can keep families together and help fight against the growing crisis in Haiti.
A Villager's Hand will give parents an opportunity to earn so they can care for their families and end the enslavement and trafficking of children.
In addition to the Restaveks, there are over 400,000 children who have been simply abandoned, either in the streets or at local orphanages. Read our blog post about the orphans to learn how you can help.