Restavec Freedom Alliance: Our Journey
2010: The Vision Begins In August 2010, during a mission trip with BEM, Pastor Jean Beaucejour spoke to Ellen about the dire situation of the Restavec children. Deeply moved by the Pastor’s vision and after thoughtful deliberation with her family, Pastor Lubin in the US, and introspection, Ellen felt a call to help. With collaboration from Pastor Jean, Lubin, and spiritual supporters, Restavec Freedom Alliance was born, supported by generous benefactors. Pastor Jean established networks to identify Restavec children for liberation. By December 2010, we inaugurated our first home in Chantal, welcoming our pioneer group of children.
Growth and Expansion Following Chantal, we launched a second residence in Ducis, quickly filling it with both boys and girls, in line with our mission to foster a family environment. In Chantal, we acquired land and, over five years, built a home, eliminating rental costs. We also opened schools in both Chantal and Ducis, offering free education to local children.
Enhancements For better living and educational standards:
- In Chantal:
- Constructed a latrine and cook house.
- Continually upgraded school buildings.
- In Ducis:
- Stabilized and renovated the school building, ensuring it met social service standards.
- Introduced a basketball court for community use.
- Established a Boulangerie for dual purposes: income generation and as a training ground for aspiring bakers.
Regulatory Adaptations On the advice of IEBSR, which embraced United Nations guidelines, we adapted. We separated the boys and girls, with girls in Chantal and boys in Ducis. IEBSR also directed us to plan for elder children; resulting in the creation of our Transition program. Further directives meant RFA had to cease welcoming children and refocus on the ones already under our care.
Facing Challenges Natural disasters tested our resilience. Our Chantal home’s roof and Ducis’s school were rebuilt post-destruction. Political instability in Haiti strained our finances, leading to the closure of our Ducis home and later, the Ducis school in 2023.
Transition Homes and Beyond We initiated two transition homes, supporting older children through high school and further education endeavors. However, due to fiscal constraints, we had to close these homes, and the students returned to their family homes.
Safety First Considering the unstable political landscape in Haiti, especially after an alarming break-in attempt, we erected a protective wall in Chantal during 2023, costing $13,000. This vital security measure strained our resources but ensured our children’s safety.
Present Day Today, we operate a single home in Chantal, sheltering 16 children under the compassionate care of Pastor [xxxx] and his wife [xxxx]. The older children now stay with their families.
Our original Mission is as stated:
Restavec Freedom Alliance is dedicated to providing relief for the Restavec children, children who are “given” to families and used as slaves in Haiti. Our mission is to offer a safe, stable, family centered environment for these children. Homes of Refuge are created with a Pastor’s families as the supporting parents. Each child will have access to an education, medical support, loving care, psychiatric care, adequate food, and sanitary facilities. Most importantly, each child will have access to a childhood.