Give them a Chance: socio-educational integration of highly vulnerable children in Petit-Goâve/ Haiti

Haiti has an illiteracy rate of 47.1%, making education a key to development, social transformation and breaking the cycle of poverty. Although the government launched a free primary education program in 2011, the most vulnerable children have not benefited from this reform. With public schools accounting for less than 20% of schools in the country, access remains extremely limited. Private schools are also out of reach as parents are required to pay school fees and cater for other related needs such as school uniforms and school supplies.

This intervention aims to provide poor children of Petit-Goâve access to education. Petit-Goâve is a coastal community in the Léogâne Arrondissement, about 68 kilometres southwest of the capital Port-au-Prince. The region has suffered tremendously since the devastating earthquake of 2010 and Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy in 2012.

Three years after the earthquake, when most of the NGOs had left the area, the humanitarian crisis was far from over. It still continues among a significant number of families who were not able to recuperate after the earthquake. Still today, the economic situation remains very weak and the social structure vulnerable.

The main goal of this project will be to improve access to educational services for the most vulnerable, with a particular focus on the “Restavek”, children whose parents send them into domestic servitude and who are thus living under a form of modern slavery.

“Give them a chance”, in partnership with Ecole Adventiste Maranatha de Petit-Goâve, provides all school fees and school materials for the beneficiary children in order to create an environment conducive to teaching and learning. Furthermore, there is psychological support to enable the children to cope with the consequences of their social conditions.

Additional action is being undertaken to sensitize families, local leaders (administration, police, justice), religious leaders, and the media to the rights and needs of children living in dire conditions. In the long term, HOPE’87 and its partner ADRA believe that this intervention will contribute to raising community awareness of children’s right to education, as well as to rebuilding the country and its social transformation.

This program is envisioned to integrate Restavek children in school. To ensure sustainability at the end of the program, ADRA will closely work with hosting families and motivate them with the importance of keeping their children in school. It is expected that by the end of the program, hosting families will be ready to continue educating these kids.

In addition, the program will encourage the local partner to strengthen its capacity, especially its financial management & infrastructures. When the schools capacity is developed, it will be possible to rely upon the existing free education program that is run by the government. In this way, the local partner will continue to support the Restavek that will be registered during the project’s lifetime and may establish a continuing program to support others.