One of the main reasons parents in rural areas send their children into the restavek system is for them to access education. Economically poor rural families cannot afford to pay school, buy books, uniforms and all the materials their children need to go to school. Generally, when children are sent into the restavek system, their parents are ensured that they will be sent to school. However, in reality, they rarely are.
This means that the majority of children who come out of the restavek system don’t know how to read or write. Limyè Lavi Foundations helps former restavek children, who are back in their home communities, to get an education. Since November 2015, thanks to the contributions made on the Global Giving platform, Limyè Lavi has been helping a group of 13 former restavek children to go to a local school in their community. There, they are in an ‘accelerated program’, where they are able to catch up on all the schooling they missed. The 13 kids (3 girls and 9 boys) were able to do official exams in December and 9 out of them passed. Limyè Lavi is continuing to work closely with the school to provide teacher training and to meet other needs. As well as the children in the accelerated program, we are providing education for 7 vulnerable teenagers, 5 of which are former restavek children who returned to their families with the help of Limyè Lavi’s model community program. We continue to work closely with these children and to support them in preparing for the future.
Illiteracy is one consequence of the restavek system. Another important consequence is trauma, as a result of the abuse these children endure. When they return to their families, many of them show signs of post-traumatic stress. In order to help these children deal with trauma, Limyè Lavi offers a psycho-social program for them. Since February 2016, one of our staff members, a professional therapist, has been working with a group of children from 2 of our model communities.
Individual therapy sessions were provided to 11 children in the various communities we assist. The sessions had been taking place every week, and came to an end in May. It was clear, through our evaluations, that the children who attended made enormous progress with their mental health. At the end of the psycho-social children’s program, Limyè Lavi met with the parents of the children who attended to explain the activities and to inform them on how they can continue to help their children at home.