Songs of Freedom
On November 24, 2012, Restavek Freedom partnered with our church mobilization coordinators in Arcahaie to launch a music contest to raise awareness about the restavek issue. The goal of this contest is to engage the youth of Haiti to become more active and participate in creating change and working toward justice for children living in restavek.
Participants in the contest were required to write and submit original songs; however, before the groups wrote their songs, Gardy St. Paulin, one of our former child advocates and now coordinator for Church Mobilization, introduced the work of Restavek Freedom to the participants. He talked about the harm this issue brings to the country of Haiti and how it destroys the hearts of children. He described the treatment these children receive and how we must advocate for change.
The program has been hugely successful! Thirty groups submitted original songs for consideration. Each group performed their songs over four consecutive weekends. Each weekend the audience grew as they came to encourage the contestants and also vote for their favorite performance. The performers were rated on lyrics, composition and performance. Audience vote constituted 20 percent of the total tally.
The first week more than 300 people were in attendance, but last weekend we had more than 5,000 people show up for the performances! The judges anticipate that the crowd will build to around 10,000 to 15,000 for the finals, which will be held on Christmas day.
We hope to share some of the performances very soon as well as the winner. Our goal is to continue this music competition all across Haiti with a grand finale in the spring of 2013.