I vividly remember the day I went to pick up Maryse in the southern region of Haiti. I was picking her up to take her to her new home, and it is still one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.
Maryse was 18 years-old and living as a restavek with her uncle. By looking at her, I could not believe she was this old, as Maryse was extremely skinny, poorly fed, terribly abused and desperate for help. I could read it all on her face. No one was concerned about her well-being.
No one cared about her at all.
In early 2011 I went to rescue Maryse. She moved into our transitional home, started school and became an active and loved part of our family.
Saturday, June 22, Maryse’s father decided to visit with her before she was to take her state exams. It had been 2 years and 5 months since she had seen him. Her father arrived, camera in hand, to take photographs of his daughter and could not believe his eyes; his daughter had blossomed into a healthy, responsible and educated young woman!
Maryse’s father thanked and congratulated the Foundation and all the staff who cared for his daughter every day. He cried, saying that he was not yet ready to have her return home, but was so happy that Maryse had a real family. Maryse was able to spend time talking with her father and even advised him to think about family planning in order to prevent any of her eight siblings from entering the terrible life she had lived; the life of a restavek.
Maryse’s story, like many others, is a testament to the amazing work we are doing in Haiti! We can be proud of the impact we are making in these children’s lives day after day.
Adeline Bien-Aime, Transitional Home Director