Restavek is a form of modern-day slavery that occurs today in Haiti, affecting 1 in every 15 children. The issue is rooted in systemic societal problems, and its existence is quite complex – spurred by harsh economic conditions, condoned by culture, and tolerated by government. The consequences and causes of restavek touch every aspect of Haitian society. In mid-2014, HEART 9/11 was contacted by the Restavek Freedom Foundation, and was requested to provide a skilled workforce needed to complete two dorm-like safe-houses for recently freed restavek – young girls and women who had been kept as modern-day slaves.
Thanks to the generosity of JetBlue, in late August of 2014, a team of six HEART 9/11 volunteers traveled to Port Salut, Haiti, to construct these safe houses, which are now home to 24 girls and young women. Over the course of five days, the team brought the high levels of carpentry, roofing, and electrical experience required to make these safe-houses into sturdy homes. As a result of the stable housing built buy HEART 9/11 and financed by Restavek Freedom Foundation, the young women living in the safe houses were allowed to attend school for the first time in their lives in September 2014. Their lives and the lives of their families have changed for the better, creating a ripple effect and touching the community of Port Salut. These 24 women will be able to help themselves and others because of the impact has made.
The team finished two dorm-like safe-houses for 24 girls and women over the course of five days. Work included:
- Framed 50 doorways
- Hung 48 closet and room doors
- Hung 2 entrance/exit doors
- Installed locks on all doors
- Installed electrical panels
- Installed ceiling fans
- Resolved complicated roof issues
- Fabricated molding
- Installed trim
- Repaired walls