A member of the Adult Survivor Network sews masks.
More Girls and Boys are Growing Up Free from Slavery and Abuse, at Home, and Protected from COVID -- Thanks to You
Thank you again for your generosity and your solidarity with the people of Haiti. Your generous support means that more girls and boys in Haiti are growing up free and safe, at home with their families, in communities that are committed to protecting and educating them. Thank you!
Right now in Haiti, your support for the Schools Not Slavery initiative is building local leadership to protect and educate children and to prevent COVID-19 too.
Before I share with you the latest update on the work that you are making possible through your support for Schools Not Slavery, I want to share with you a message from our Executive Director David Diggs about the actions that we are taking -- thanks to supporters like you -- to help families and communities in Haiti protect themselves from COVID-19.
A COVID-19 Update from Executive Director David Diggs
Thanks to an outpouring of support from so many generous souls, some of the most vulnerable populations in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, and on Lagonav Island now have masks, hygiene kits, family garden kits, emergency cash assistance, and the accurate information they need to protect themselves from COVID-19.
We’ve distributed 2,400 hygiene kits, 10,000 masks handsewn by members of Beyond Borders’ Adult Survivors of Child Slavery Network, and purchased an additional quantity of hospital-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) for people working on the front lines.
Health clinics and the hospital on Lagonav got more than 1,250 gallons of disinfectant, while 220 families on the island received family garden kits and 110 received emergency cash assistance to fight off hunger too.
The generosity of supporters like you has also made it possible to get life-saving virus-prevention information out to some of the most vulnerable populations via our Community Megaphone Campaign, so that families can stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves and their neighbors from this deadly virus.
The campaign is up and running in urban and rural communities across Haiti, and is led by a team with more than a decade of experience in public education and mass communication.
These brave women and men -- members of the Adult Survivors of Child Slavery Network, Child Protection Brigades, and Community Activists working to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls -- are using their expertise to get critical virus-prevention information out to families and communities who might otherwise go without it.
And because domestic violence often spikes in times of crisis, these teams are sharing child protection and preventing violence against women and girls messaging too.
I thought you might like to see some of the work that is part of this emergency response. The photo above is of a volunteer -- one of more than 30 who sewed masks -- at her sewing machine on Lagonav Island.
These volunteers made the 10,000 masks we distributed as part of Beyond Borders’ COVID-19 Emergency Response.
Planning is now underway to address escalating hunger fueled by skyrocketing prices and an ongoing drought. Beyond Borders teams are working with grassroots leaders and local elected officials to develop community-based responses so that no family goes hungry and every household has what they need to keep the virus at bay. I hope to share more with you soon about what’s next.
It’s hard to find good news right now, but this outpouring of generosity to fight COVID-19 in Haiti gives me reason to hope, and I hope it does the same for you too.
With deep gratitude,
Building the Capacity of Local Elected Officials and Grassroots Leaders to Protect Children
We know that children who are able to go to school are much less likely to be sent away to live with others and risk becoming enslaved. Thanks to your support, Beyond Borders’ Child Rights team expanded efforts to engage local government and grassroots leaders in six communal sections on Lagonav Island to end the practice of sending children away and to ensure every girl and boy in their community grows up free from abuse and neglect.
Efforts this quarter focused on building relationships with representatives of local governments and facilitating collaboration between the established Beyond Borders Child Rights Activist Network and local government.
The goal is to cultivate joint plans to reduce the practice of child slavery and expand awareness-raising and child rights activist training to communities on Lagonav Island that we’ve not yet reached.
Relationship-building and efforts to cultivate the engagement of local government across these six communal sections has taken longer than plans called for, however, there have been very positive outcomes with respect to local government’s engagement to combat the practice of child slavery.
One of these positive outcomes is a new Protocol for the Prevention of Child Trafficking -- made possible because of your investment in this movement-building work.
During a two-day workshop, Beyond Borders colleagues like Freda Catheus, who leads our work on Lagonav Island, drew from their experience working closely with Child Rights Activists in our Child Protection Brigades and Adult Survivors of Child Slavery Network, to draft the protocol with the mayor of Lagonav Island's largest community, Ansagale, his cabinet, and elected officials from five other communities.
The protocol enacts protections to ensure that no child is trafficked from the island to the mainland, and it will be enforced collectively by local officials and Child Rights Activists trained by Beyond Borders -- with your support -- to recognize and intervene in cases of child slavery.
Your generosity is making this kind of movement-building work possible -- organizing local elected officials and Child Rights Activists to protect every girl and boy from slavery and abuse.
Supporting Child Rights Activists in 16 Lagonav Island Communities
You’ve also made it possible for Beyond Borders’ staff to continue to provide targeted support to existing Child Protection Brigades (CPBs) and chapters of the Survivors of Restavèk (Child Slavery) Network (SRN) as they conduct important activism to build the movement to end child slavery on Lagonav Island.
Here’s a look at some of the cases in which your support has empowered CPBs, SRN members, and members of Beyond Borders’ SASA! Activism Network to prevent violence against women and girls to intervene to protect vulnerable children:
Location: Nan Kafe
Local Structures: CPB, SRN group, and SASA! activism network
Child’s Age, Gender: 12 years, female
Incident: Child living with a family (possibly in a domestic slavery situation) was being abused; community members intervened and brought the case to Nan Kafe CPB and SRN groups.
Intervention: CPB and SRN members conducted home visit to speak with abuser. They requested she change her treatment of the girl or return her to her parents. The woman agreed to change how she treats the girl. The child has remained in the family under close observation of CPB and SRN members.
Local Structures: CPB, SRN group, and SASA! activism network
Child’s Age, Gender: 16 years, female
Incident: An adolescent girl was raped by an adult male and impregnated.
Intervention: The CPB, SRN, and SASA! Activists collaborated to support the mother to pursue legal action for the arrest of the rapist, who is still in hiding; also, they accompanied the family to access medical care for the girl.
Location: Grann Sous
Local Structures: CPB
Child’s Age, Gender: 8 years, male
Incident: The child was not enrolled in school.
Intervention: CPB members collaborated to purchase school supplies and pooled finances to pay tuition; this is one example of 104 children (63 girls) who were supported in this way.
Local Structures: CPB and Activism network
Child’s Age, Gender: 14 years, female
Incident: This orphaned child living with disabilities was being abused by the family with whom she lives (not her biological family)
Intervention: Neighbors reported this situation to the CPB and Activism Network; a delegation was formed to visit the household to talk with the girls’ guardians. Activists challenged the parent to improve their treatment of the child, and it was agreed. The parent has begun changing, and the CPB and Activists continue to provide close accountability.
And here’s a look at some of the other quarterly goals and supporting activities to build the movement to end child slavery that your generous support made possible:
Goal: Local elected leaders identify child slavery as a priority issue and lead efforts to eradicate this practice in coordination with civil society.
- Meetings were held with local government and a draft accord written that outlines collaboration between Beyond Borders and local government on the four objectives of the Model Community Initiatve: ending child slavery, guaranteeing universal quality primary education, preventing violence against women and girls, and ensuring every family can earn a dignified living.
- Social mapping exercises were completed in five of six communal sections; data is being treated and shared with local government and community members; meetings will be facilitated with communities and government representatives to analyze child welfare results.
- Twelve planning meetings were held with local governments to discuss child rights.
- Seven meetings were held to encourage functional linkages between Child Protection Brigades (CPBs), Survivors of Restavèk (Child Slavery) Network (SRN) chapters, local government, and local residents to strengthen collaboration on promoting children’s rights.
- Local government leaders have not yet reached the stage of recruiting child protection community mobilization teams; this is on hold at the moment due to COVID-19 restrictions on meetings.
Goal: Population in the six communal sections acquire new knowledge and change attitudes and practices toward child maltreatment and the system of enslaving children in domestic servitude (restavèk).
- Child Rights Training facilitator and supervisor candidates were selected but have not yet been trained to conduct child rights training in new communal sections under the leadership of local government; this will take place after social mapping results are analyzed and priorities are identified for each district (stalled by COVID-19).
- Awareness-raising activities were held to promote the SRN in three of 16 communities, reaching 99 people (69 women).
- The SRN conducted an outreach gathering in Nan Sema to organize adult survivors of child slavery for participation in the SRN; 36 adult survivors (24 women) joined this new SRN group in Nan Sema.
- SRN groups and CPBs have not yet been established in new communal sections; after they are, they will be supported to conduct activities like the Zero Restavèk (No Child Enslaved) campaigns and community meetings to recruit new members to the SRN.
- Once child rights training takes place in new intervention regions, new CPBs and SRN groups will be created under the leadership of local government officials.
- Forty-one teachers and principals were trained as Child Rights facilitators in schools participating in the teacher training program.
Goal: Local communities have strengthened child protection systems.
- A series of meetings were held, and a draft protocol was developed in collaboration with local governments for tracking internal and external movement of children in the Ansagalè municipality (Lagonav Island’s largest city).
- Twelve CPB and SRN members (3 women) were trained to use the reintegration checklist to monitor the reintegration of children who have returned home from domestic slavery situations.
- One hundred four children (63 girls) in four of the original 16 communities received material and financial support from local CPBs to attend school.
- Fourteen exchange meetings were held with 194 (90 women) CPB members, SRN members, and Child Rights Activists.
- Five CPBs were evaluated to assess their maturity and capacity to lead their communities to resist child slavery.
- Nineteen CPB members from two communities were trained in organizational leadership.
- CPBs convened general assemblies of 195 Child Rights Activists (101 women) in 13 of 16 communities where we work.
You are Building the Movement to Guarantee Universal Quality Primary Education for Every Girl and Boy
Thanks to you -- and despite the severe challenges schools in Haiti faced this year in the wake of COVID-19 -- Beyond Borders and our partner organization, the Matènwa Community Learning Center (MCLC), engaged 23 schools in teacher training and advocacy activities designed to improve both the quality of and access to education on Lagonav Island.
Altogether, more than 110 teachers and principals participated in 10 days of workshops prior to the pandemic. Within the 23 schools participating in the Schools Not Slavery Network, 1,576 students (703 girls) benefitted from improvements made as teachers applied new participatory teaching methods and nonviolent classroom management techniques with their students.
Additionally, five advocacy events were held at which school personnel, students, and parents gathered with government education inspectors to discuss the importance of Haitian Creole as the language of instruction. Past studies have shown that students who learn in Haitian Creole -- instead of French, a language rarely spoken at home -- have reading scores that are nearly three times higher than the national average.
Here’s a look at some of the quarterly goals and supporting activities to build the movement to guarantee universal quality primary education that your generous support made possible:
Goal: Local elected officials prioritize access to education and lead local efforts to ensure education for all children.
- Meetings were held in six communal sections, convening a total of 157 education stakeholders – local school personnel, community leaders, and local government – to begin establishing local structures that will lead efforts to ensure education access and quality; the organizations and individuals present constitute the beginnings of communal section-level education structures; in one section, a central committee was organized to lead the efforts.
- Meetings are planned to support the professional development of local Ministry of Education school inspectors and foster their leadership in the development of local school federations and education planning at the communal and communal section levels.
- More than 50 Lagonav schools continue to collaborate and conduct advocacy through the Schools Not Slavery network established via past and current participation in the teacher training program.
Goal: The quality of primary education is improved.
- Five days of residential teacher training were held for 102 educators at 18 Year 1 schools prior to the pandemic.
- Five day-long teacher training workshops were held with all 23 schools, reaching more than 50 teachers (21 women) with nonviolent, participative methods, also prior to the start of the pandemic.
- Sixty-seven on-site visits were held with participating schools; during these visits teachers receive targeted coaching based on classroom observation, supporting them to apply participative teaching and nonviolent classroom management techniques learned during workshops.
- Twenty-three schools received storage units to house book banks; 738 1st through 3rd grade students accessed Creole language textbooks distributed to 18 schools; 1,235 students (575 girls) at 23 schools benefited from Creole textbook banks.
- Twenty-three schools received monthly subsidy disbursements to stabilize school revenue to ensure teacher salaries, which improves their attendance at school and their participation in training workshops.
- Five pre-pandemic community advocacy events were held, convening 4,000 students, teachers, school principals, local government authorities, and Ministry of Education school inspectors to promote Haitian Creole as the language of instruction.
- Twenty-three network schools received training and held Open Space sessions (pre-pandemic) to increase parent engagement and the engagement of local government authorities and community members in school life; altogether 1,150 parents, teachers, principals, and local authorities participated at these 23 events; discussion topics included parent engagement, violence, children’s rights, family education, and open range livestock grazing.
- Twenty-three parent committees have been established; 18 are active.
A School Director Shares What It Means to be in the Schools Not Slavery Network
Francilien Mathurin, Principal and Founder of the Sous Kanaran School, shares what it means to parents, children, and their teachers to be part of the Schools Not Slavery Network that your generosity supports:
“The region where my school is located is very vulnerable. Parents don’t have a lot of means to pay school tuition [and associated costs] for their children. The monthly subsidies we receive have helped us greatly to be able to pay our teachers each month. This support has allowed the school to reach vulnerable children in the community who weren’t enrolled in school before.
“There have been many changes made at our school. For example, we don’t use corporal punishment in our school anymore. The teacher training helped us find other strategies to manage the students without having to spank them. Also, I’ve had fewer problems with my teachers in terms of lesson planning. I always had to force the teachers to prepare each lesson every day, while I had never – not even once – showed them how to prepare a lesson.
“To close, I’d like to say a big thank you to all of the staff and their collaborators/supporters for this beautiful work they’re doing on Lagonav Island to improve education! Thank you!”
Thank You Again
You’ve made so many good things possible through your support for the Schools Not Slavery initiative. Even in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, parents, students, school directors, teachers, and elected and grassroots leaders in some of the most rural communities in Haiti know they can count on you.
Thank you again for your extraordinary generosity and solidarity. All of us at Beyond Borders send our best wishes for the continued health and well-being of you and your loved ones.
If you have any questions about what you read in this report, please call or write Beyond Borders’ Donor Engagement Director Brian Stevens at (305) 450-2561 or email@example.com.
Our Freda Catheus (L) with Child Rights Activists.
Adult Survivors of Child Slavery on Lagonav Island
Distributing hygiene items at Sous Kanaran School.
A pre-pandemic teacher training on Lagonav Island.
Give with confidence.