High in the mountains above the city of Cap Haitien is a village called Calvaire, a small community of 1,000 people that seems to face endless challenges. Live Different, and their Haitian partner organization, ASEEDH, are working to change lives in this community. They recently completed "Ecole L'Union", a school on the mountain side overlooking Cap Haitien, to serve the children and families of Calvaire. Now, they have a new vision. The Freedom Centre will be a safe haven for young girls that have been in the worst-case scenarios of the restavek system in Haiti...
The "restavek" system is a form of modern-day slavery that is unfortunately prevalent in Haiti today. Children, born to poor families, are sold or given away with the misconception that they will be provided a better life. Restavek children are often the first to wake up and the last to go to sleep; all day they cook meals, clean the home, and run errands. They may be required to sleep under the kitchen table and fend for scraps of food. There are currently 150,000 - 500,000 restavek children in Haiti, the majority of whom are girls who are particularly vulnerable to all forms of abuse.
Live Different and ASEEDH are partnering with EMI to design a home - The Freedom Centre - that will be used as a base for the rescue and transition of young girls in the worst restavek situations. They will be given food, education, counselling and learn basic life skills that they may have missed out on. They will be given the freedom that they have been waiting their whole lives for.
Our EMI team will join Live Different and ASEEDH staff in Cap Haitien, where we will survey the 0.57 acre mountain side site, review local construction practices and record the details of the Freedom Centre vision. The small campus design will include a set of buildings to house and feed up to 30 girls in a family-style setting - including a common area for eating, areas for cooking, a first aid room and offices. The design will also include a guest house for up to 25 people and a staff member apartment. Finally, appropriate infrastructure design will be required to provide the site with electricity, water and sanitation.
As this site is located uphill from any accommodations, team members should be prepared for the occasional hike. But don't worry, the view is worth it!
I hope you will consider joining us as we partner with Live Different, ASEEDH and the local community of Calvaire in providing a safe, well-designed home for rescued restavek girls!
— Braden Swab, EMI Canada trip leader
for power distribution, integrating solar and diesel generation