Marie Claire has been in the Restavek Freedom program for two years now and enjoys attending school. Her studies have proven to be difficult at times and she struggles but she is making progress and is determined to succeed.
Recently, I began to notice that Marie Claire was missing a lot of days from school so I arranged a meeting with her school director to discuss what had been happening. During our meeting I voiced my concerns about Marie Claire’s absences and the director agreed to help me find her. Together we were able to locate her aunt and arranged a time to meet with her.
Her aunt had given me a number to call when it was time to meet with her, when I called the number there was no answer. It didn’t work. I decided to talk to as many people as I could to learn what had happened to Marie Claire. I discovered that she was being abused by her aunt’s husband and her aunt had decided to move her to another location away from her home.
After searching tirelessly, I have not been able to locate Marie Claire or contact her aunt.
This child’s story makes me sad because it is the reality of many of the children in Haiti. Despite a child’s motivation, dreams and hard work, their lives are often interrupted by lack of food, neglect, and sometimes even abusive situations. Marie Claire’s story is not unique, as a Child Advocate at RFF we hear these stories often, everyday even; however the very mission of what we do is to help children like Marie Claire and others like her.
I hope that in my short time with her, as her Advocate, I was able to show her care and friendship and that she realized there were people who care for her and advocated on her behalf. No matter where she is, I hope Marie Claire continues to find hope, love and friendship.
Jean Smith Mondesir, Child Advocate