Bedina is 13-years-old and lives in Nan Kafe, a rural Haitian community on the Island of Lagonav. Bedina has recently learned a lot about the restavèk practice from her mother, Jadelle, who is a member of the local Child Protection Brigade which supports Beyond Borders’ mission to end the practice of childhood slavery (called restavèk) in Haiti.
“My mom taught me that when a child is living as a restavèk, they are mistreated and they suffer; the child should not be in that house. The Child Protection Brigade will try to find the parents’ house.” Bedina explains.
“If [my mom] sees a child living with someone else and that person is mistreating the child, she will talk to the person, or she will look for the parents of the child to help them to bring their child home.”
Child Protection Brigades pay a critical role in the effort to protect children and end the restavèk practice. These groups of volunteers raise awareness, intervene to protect children and help children access exciting protective services, including safe paths to return home. Brigade members receive ongoing support and training to strengthen their ability to protect children in their communities!
Bedina, her three sisters, and brother learn from their mother’s example and now they know how their family can take action to make their community safer for children.
“If I see someone mistreating a child, I can go find my mom and tell her and then she will go and talk to the people or to find the child’s parent and help them bring their child home.”
The training Beyond Borders made possible for Jadelle and thousands of other Haitian parents is not only preventing children from becoming restavèks, but also improving the safety of every child in their community.
Now, Bedina understands the risks of sending children away and can identify children in her own community in need of support. At just 13-years-old, she has already joined the fight to end restavèk in Haiti!