In October 2010, before we officially opened our transition home, I received a knock at the door. Standing before me was a young woman with obvious signs of physical and emotional abuse. The scars, the blank stare, her hunched shoulders…everything about her spoke of hopelessness. She was seeking refuge and had heard that we were working with children living as restavek.
Marie’s story is one of transformation, brought about through education, patience and love. She moved into our home and the transformation began to take place immediately. She was 21, and our maximum age of acceptance is 17. However, when I met her, I knew there was no way I could return her to the life she had been living.
From the age of 3 years old she had been passed around from one family to another, abused and humiliated, illiterate and exhausted. Her options were few but then one day she could not take it any longer.
Today Marie has hope. She transitioned out of our home 16 months later, confident and full of anticipation that her future would be better. Now she can read and write, cook and sew and supports herself with the money she earns creating beautiful jewelry. She knows what it means to give love and to receive love and she understands the value of education. She is happy and has friends and a community of people that care about her.
I recently received a text message from her saying, “Mwen renmen w anpil” (I love you a lot). This, from a young women who 2 years ago could not even write her name. This is HOPE!
Marie is just one of thousands of young women that need a hand up.
Marie gave us permission to share her story and to share these photos. Typically we do not post photos of the girls in these situations. However we felt that her story would be one of inspiration and visible change. We hope that you are as inspired as we continue to be by the courage of these young women.
Thank you for standing with us for FREEDOM.
Djougine Desrosier, Child Advocate