Sunday, March 3, 2013

A beautiful new beginning for two children.

Time to celebrate!  This week we were able officially obtain guardianship rights for our newest Grace Village children.  These children were identified and rescued by Restavek Freedom, a partner organization.  They lived in domestic slavery and it was evident they were being severely abused by their host families.  

The legal process to obtain guardianship went beautifully.  We met with the children's  guardians at the school they attend to sign the necessary documents.  Rubinson, one of our Grace Village social workers, did a beautiful job preparing the proper documents and making the children feel comfortable during this process.  It is obvious that he has a great rapport with the children.  Over the next couple of days, Rubinson and the rest of our staff, will work to prepare our children at Grace Village to welcome these children.  Then Rubinson will meet them on Wednesday, March 6th to move the two children up to Grace Village.   

An amazing "God-incidence":  Rubinson volunteers as a psycho/social worker at the school both children attend.  The little boy was one of the children Rubinson has been counseling every week since the beginning of school this fall.  What are the chances that one of the children recommended to us would be a boy that our social worker was already working with to provide therapy?!  WOW!  GOD IS THAT BIG!

Thank you God for rescuing these two beautiful children.  It will be a beautiful new beginning.  Please pray for the smooth transition and the warm welcome from our kids at GV.  

12 year old boy

12 year old boy, Rubinson, 12 year old girl

12 year old girl

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Freedom Run 2012

The second annual Freedom Run was another great success.  Despite very chilly conditions, we doubled the number of runners from the inaugural run in 2011.  These young runners worked very hard, and along with corporate sponsorships, raised $27,740!  Way to go kids!  

Our Bible theme for our races was from 1 Timothy.  This verse explains is purpose behind why our event is focused on children helping children.   These children were excellent examples for all of us as they put their time, energy and resources into helping kids in Haiti!
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.                     
                                                       1 Tim 4:12 

These funds will go towards paying for a social worker's salary and the other additional costs for helping children who previously lived in slavery.  The Grace Village social worker will also help counsel and teach our current orphan children.  

Ballons were released prior to the beginning of the run as a symbol of prayers lifted up to our Good Father for the protection and well being of the children currently living in slavery.

A huge THANK YOU to all the Freedom Run volunteers, corporate sponsors, runners and parents who helped make the day a great success for the children of Haiti!

Mark your calendars for the 2013 Freedom Run.  It will be held the evening of Friday, May 31st.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

55 Kids + Restavek Awareness Fun Run = 18 Beds & Mattresses!

We are overwhelmed by the efforts of 55 children who together raised $4,600 during the Restavek Awareness Fun Run.  This donation will provide 18 former restaveks most likely their first night's sleep on a bed.  $4,600 will cover the costs of 18 beds, mattress and delivery to Haiti.  We pray that as each former slave child finds comfort in these beds, they will understand the love of their Creator in a new way.

Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them.  Don't  let anyone think less of you because you are young.  Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.   1 Timothy 4:11-12

Thank you to the 55 children who set an example to all believers in the way they live!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Restavek Awareness Fun Run - Blown Away by Response!

Our first annual Restavek Awareness Fun Run was a great success.  We are BLOWN AWAY by the response and great turn out.  Thank you to those of you who set apart your morning for such a great cause!

5 Reasons to Celebrate:
1)  55 children participated.
2)  Most of the children had sponsors which spread an even wider circle of awareness.
3)  We have already collected over $2,000 and the sponsor dollars are still rolling in!  Donations will go towards furnishing the Restavek safe house.
4)  Awareness and education was given to our runners, their parents and grandparents by the great demonstration on Restaveks given by Kari Bristol, event coordinator with the help of runner Kayla.
5)  Other donations were raised by the event booths.  Volunteers sold muffins, cookies, thank you cards, popsicles, t-shirts, candy grams and books.  Thank you!

We look forward to announcing the date of our next Fun Run!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Restavek Awareness Fun Run

Restavek Awareness Fun Run - Saturday, September 24th  9:00AM 

Healing Haiti is celebrating it's first Restavek event by including who else, KIDS!  Our children will raise money and awareness for slave children in Haiti.  This is a kid-friendly event, focusing on how they can make a difference, specifically in the lives of the Restavek child.  It is sure to be a great event!

If you would like to participate, please see the link below!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

44 %

Learn to do good.  Seek justice.  Help the oppressed.  Defend the orphan.  Fight for the rights of the widows.  
Isaiah 1:17

44 % of the children currently living in Cite Soleil (the slums of Haiti) are Restavek children.  33% of the households in Port Au Prince, Haiti's capital, have a Restavek.  A very conservative estimate is that 225,000 children are currently Restaveks.

The facts are mind boggling.  It is difficult to wrap my mind around the reality.   225,000 children.  Beaten, uneducated, malnourished.  I pray God gives me the courage not to look past these statistics, but to understand that each number represents one of His creation.

The LORD replies, "I have seen violence
     done to the helpless
  and I have heard the groans of the poor.
Now I will rise up to rescue them,
     as they have longed for me to do."
The LORD's promises are pure,
     like silver refined seven times in a furnace,
     purified seven times over.

Therefore, LORD, we know you will protect
     the oppressed,
   preserving them forever from this lying 
even though the wicked strut about,
   and evil is praised throughout the land.

Psalm 12: 5-8

How can this exist?

I had the opportunity to share my Jamal experience (see previous post) with one of the founders of Healing Haiti, Jeff Gacek.  He opened my eyes to the brutal cultural practice of  Restavek placement.  Once a child is placed as a Restavek, they are deemed less valuable.  In fact, the term Restavek in itself is derogatory.

How can this exist?  Haitian women are often stuck in a predicament.  They are so desperately poor they cannot afford to feed or educate their children.  In hopes of a better future for her child, the mother chooses to give her child to a slightly less poor family.  She assumes that her child will be fed and given an education.  The mother traditionally looses all contact with the child.

In reality, this child is expected to "earn their keep" by doing the majority of the household chores, which are labor intensive.  The Restavek works from sun up to sun down fetching water, cleaning and caring for the other children in the household.  The Restavek is given no time for play.  2/3 of the Restaveks are girls between the ages of 5-16.  They are often refused an education.  They are not allowed to speak unless spoken to.  They eat inferior food and sleep on a mat on the floor instead of a mattress.  Tragically, they are often physically, emotionally and sexually abused.

Haitian law states that once a child reaches the age of 16, legally they have to be paid for their labor.  Restaveks are then kicked out of the household and have to fend for themselves on the streets.  Uneducated and abused, former Restaveks turn to prostitution and gangs to find a means to survive.