“During the first six months of 2011, ten (10) groups of 10-15 camp residents in the IDP camp at Place Sainte Anne in downtown Port-au-Prince gathered weekly to discuss child rights issues, guided by the story-based ‘Education is a Conversation’ dialogue module. They talked about stories of children and related them to the real-life stories they were living and witnessing each day in their lives. They role-played ways they would intervene in the lives of children suffering abuses. At the end of the sessions, these ten groups each nominated a delegate to serve on the Child Protection Committee, a committee established to serve the role of promoting child protection in the community, and of intervening in cases of abuse of children. In July, eight such committees were trained and inaugurated in different IDP camps in Port-au-Prince.

Below is a report from the committee serving the IDP camp at Place Sainte Anne, issued just six weeks after their inauguration.

At 4 p.m. on September 5, 2011, after we had completed a large awareness-raising activity in the camp, a gentleman came to us with a child who had run away. He had been living in restavèk with a woman who cooks food and sells it on the street. He was being mistreated by the woman.

This twelve year-old boy talked with us about his situation. He told us the names of his parents and shared that they live in the Kenscoff area (mountaineous region to the south of Port-au-Prince). We asked for advice from (Limyè Lavi staff) and we were advised to refer the case to Zanmi Timoun (a local organization working in collaboration with the Haitian state and IOM to reunify restavèk children with their families).

Since it was late in the day, Zanmi Timoun advised us to hold the child in a safe place, which we did. Zanmi Timoun staff came to see the child the next morning and conducted an initial interview. Later that day, two other staff came and did a more lengthy intake with the child, and then visited the woman where the boy was in restavèk. They asked us to hold the child for one additional night and to care for his needs.

The next day they (Zanmi Timoun staff accompanied by an agent from IBESR -Institut du Bien-être Social et de Recherches) came to collect the child. They thanked us for the good work we are doing. We feel this work was a success.

We have since confirmed that this child is now living temporarily with a trained and monitored foster care family while Zanmi Timoun conducts the search to find his family. The presence of the child protection committee within the camp community at Place Sainte Anne ensured that this boy received the appropriate response from trained individuals in his own neighborhood. They were able to refer him to the appropriate social services agency.”

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