If you would like to read the first part of Rose’s story, please go here: http://restavekfreedom.tumblr.com/post/58062419796/enduring-the-pain
In August 2013, after a long time of mistreatment, Rose decided to run away from her host family’s home in Port-au-Prince. I happened to visit her home the day she ran away. Due to the fact that I had just visited, the family thought I was responsible for her disappearance.
I looked everywhere but could not locate Rose. I kept expecting a phone call since she had all my phone numbers, and continued to get everything ready for her for the school year; her uniform was folded neatly and her backpack full of books and supplies. Finally, after almost two months, she contacted me and told me what she had been doing since running away.
Rose prepared her escape weeks before leaving the house. She had collected her possessions and left them at several neighbors’ houses; people she trusted. She ran away just minutes after I had visited her and spent a few days at her mother’s friend’s house in the southern part of Port Prince. Afterward, she went to an agricultural city in the Artibonite department to find her mother and her whole family who was there, waiting for her. Her mother was scared for Rose’s life, and told me that she would like her daughter to stay with her. “I know children who went back to Port-au-Prince and who died,” she said.
Rose is now living with her mother. Her mother may not have the means to take good care of her, but Rose is safe, well treated and very loved. I can see the joy on her face. She smiles. She goes to school every day and has time to study as real students do. She is hopeful about school and thankful to the Restavek Freedom Foundation for giving her the chance to continue her studies in another town, another school, while living with her family.
At Restavek Freedom we are still supporting children who are reunified with their family by providing transportation, school tuition, books, school supplies and uniforms. It requires more work and dedication from the advocate but is well worth it. The road to success is long and has many challenges, but the smiles on the faces of those children and their biological families are priceless.
Reunification is not always successful but we are always encouraged when families and communities embrace one of their own. For Rose it was FREEDOM…..Libete!
Magdala Antoine, Child Advocate