Cross International has some great news to report from the field. Last year, we worked with one of our mission partners, Mission Evangelique Baptiste Du Su D’Haiti (MEBSH) to support 29 schools for restavek children in Haiti. Restaveks, or children working as indentured servants for their host family, are routinely denied the opportunity to attend school. These specialized schools teach them how to read, write, and do arithmetic, skills they would likely never learn otherwise.
And starting this fall, Cross will fund 10 additional MEBSH restavek schools! That means we’ll reach even more than the 864 restavek children we currently support through the classes and feeding programs we fund at each school.
Why is going to school so important for restaveks? Because they are Haiti’s ignored children, a segment of the population no one wants to talk about. More than 300,000 children, most of them girls, are restaveks (from the French rester avec which means “stay with”). Their parents, too poor to feed their children, send them to live with families in better economic situations with the hope that their children will have a better life and an education. But that’s rarely the case.
Restaveks are usually forced to work hard, and they are sometimes physically and sexually abused. And their host families often deny them the opportunity to attend school. Without an education, these children are doomed to be poor like their parents because they won’t have the skills to get jobs as adults. Even worse, these children grow up thinking they aren’t worthy of an education like the other children they see going to and from school every day.
That’s why it’s critical that restaveks get an education: to keep them out of poverty and to teach them that they are just as capable, smart, and worthy of an education as other children. MEBSH and Cross are working together through these grassroots-level schools to help restavek children value themselves and get an education. It’s just one way we can spread the Gospel message of Jesus in Matthew 18:5, when he spoke of humble children: “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
Click here to read about the restavek schools and feeding programs Cross supports in Haiti. Help us welcome the children in the name of Jesus!