Easter weekend is a time of great celebration in Haiti. As in some other aspects of Haitian life, it’s a combination of Catholic and Voodoo tradition.Continue Reading ›
Malaria, nearly non-existent in many other Caribbean countries, remains the third-leading cause of death among children under 5 in Haiti. Haiti lacks the public health, sanitation and human resources needed to deliver crucial preventive health and medical services to the population.Continue Reading ›
As many other Caribbean countries, Haiti has a very rich cuisine. Haiti however, maintains an independently unique flavor.
The property now housing the Simonette Child Development Center used to be a “peristil,” or Voodoo temple, where a well-known Voodoo priest named Sore ruled for several decades.
Restavèk is a Creole word for a Haitian child who stays with and works for another family. A restavèk child can be a boy or a girl who is given away by a poor family in order to survive. Frequently, the restavèk’s most basic rights to health and education are denied.
Of these children, 65 percent are girls between age 6 and 14. They are forced to work long hours under harsh conditions and are subject to mistreatment, including sexual abuse.
The restavèk child is the first person to wake up in the morning and the last one to go to bed, sometimes after 14 hours of work that consists of, among other chores, carrying water, washing clothes, taking the owner’s children to school, doing errands, and cleaning the home.
The restavèk child is often beaten for the simplest mistakes. Laws against child abuse exist in Haiti, but unfortunately, they are seldom enforced as children’s rights don’t have a high a priority.
The number of restavèk children reported nationally is between 250,000 and 300,000, and this domestic phenomenon is due to several reasons.
Growing up in Haiti, Milord was no stranger to need. In his rural home of Petit-Goave, where the average income is barely more than $1 a day, he experienced poverty personally and saw how it affected those most vulnerable, women and children. It became his personal dream to impact his community for good.
When he moved to the city and became part of the Capitol Development Center, he became the leader of the youth club … and decided he wanted to become the leader of the entire child development center so he could help make an impact on his community.
Milord was so committed that he, once a Compassion-sponsored child himself, achieved this mission when he became the director of the Capitol Development Center. He is honored to minister to 450 children through the child sponsorship program and 90 children and caregivers through the Child Survival Program (CSP). His mission is to bring them spiritual, socio-emotional and economic change.
Milord has now been successfully working as the center director for eight years. He became director just several years after graduating from the program himself, having studied social work and theology at the university.
Compassion started its ministry in Haiti in 1968. At that time, we worked directly through the missionaries established in the country while maintaining no country office or local staff. But through the years, our structure has changed as more and more children have been registered in our programs.