The Issue of "Restavek" in Haiti
Did you know 2 out of every 10 children in Haiti are being Forced to Performed Domestic Work?
“Give a man a fish; and you have fed him for today only. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him and those around him for a lifetime.”
Who we are and What we do
As a nonprofit organization, BRICE Foundation Int'l has been working since September, 2011 very diligently in the Haitian community and other communities in order to help change the lives of those who are the most affected by poverty in Haiti and abroad. Poverty by definition is not being able to satisfy one’s basic need on a daily basis. Poverty has been and unfortunately continues to be a serious issue that can’t be ignored by any of us regardless of our socio-economic status, our political view, or our religious beliefs. Every single one of us knows at least someone who is living in absolute poverty. The thought that people die of starvation is very sad, inhuman, and unimaginable while in some other countries foods are being trashed almost every day. Unfortunately this is the reality of millions of individuals around the world; especially innocent children. Without counting adults, it is reported that more than 15 million children die of starvation each year globally; and this is without related diseases death cases.
Children’s situation in Haiti is no different from children in other developing counties around the world like Africa, Asia, etc. In a society where more than 3 quarter (80%) of the population is living in absolute poverty, it is evident that children would be the most affected by this shameful situation. In fact, in every 5 children who are born, two to three of them will never reach the age of five, and 6 to 7 out of 10 school-aged children cannot go to school due to financial hardship, while 1 out 10 is being used as “Restavek”, which is a modern slavery system implemented in Haiti that has affected children the most. Since our mission is to reduce poverty and illiteracy rate, Brice Foundation continues to operate and support concrete and innovative projects that meet the needs of those living in poverty and other types of challenges posed by a rapidly changing and growing society without infrastructures, leadership and financial freedom needed. It’s true that the world is changing every second. However, the rights for people to express themselves, to work, to education, to have a decent place where they can call home, to be able to eat at least one meal a day, to have access to clean water, medical assistance, to heal from emotional distress, to live and to interact with one another, fortunately have not changed.
It is clearly said in the U.N. chart that every human being is created equal, and regardless of his/her skin color or social background, he/she has the right to live with decency and dignity. If this is still the world's most influential leaders’ view, there is nothing human about the long lasting sufferance of the Haitian population without a proper cause. This country that used to be known as the French richest colony, the pearl of the Caribbean and one of the world greatest producers of sugar cane, cotton, coffee, cocoa, and tobacco is now being referred to as the poorest country in North America and one of the most dangerous places in the hemisphere. Haiti is the first independent nation of Latin America and in the Caribbean. It is also the first black-led republic in the world and the second republic in the American continent when the slaves took their freedom and declared independence from France on January 1st of 1804 after a successful revolution conducted by them that last nearly a decade.
Although we as a nation have greatly contributed to our shameful situation today on various aspects and levels, however; this is only a drop in the bucket that led to Haiti’s deterioration. Another factor of the problem is that the Haitian society is filled with prejudice and inequality that divides the population into many sectorial groups, social and political appurtenances. This scenario unfortunately has been going on since that new country was born. There are many things that can be associated to such a reality:
We believe that lack of education has a lot to do with what is going on in Haiti. We were about 800,000 slaves when we took our freedom. During the slavery era it was almost a crime for a slave to learn how to read and write or even worst to dress like his/her master. After being freed education was not a priority, but protection due to the fact that our very first leaders feared that the French might come back to regain control of Haiti. 800,000 slaves who do not know how to read and write their own names started a new nation, and this is how illiteracy started in Haiti. Our past and previous leaders never make education one of their priorities, while without proper education no one can succeed.
Inequality is another touchy subject in our society and unfortunately, it’s been this way since the beginning, although in our flag it says unity is our strength. But the truth is, there cannot be unity until equality takes place; and wherever inequality exists there also would be prejudice, social injustice, and poverty. Here at Brice Foundation we want to break those barriers once and for all.
Haiti is a beautiful country with tremendous potentials, and Haitians are very proud of their culture and are also resilient people who only ask one thing in life; the ability to live in dignity just like every other human being, and the ability to achieve economic freedom through hard work. This is what triggered the Haitian revolution in the first place over 200 years ago. But, unfortunately, this is a dream that cannot come true, a right that we still fighting for even today. Haiti has an outstanding natural beauty that makes it different from any other place in the Caribbean. It is surrounded with high mountains that used to be covered with forest, but not anymore due to environmental deficiencies. Haiti has a very rich culture that often seen as a combination of strong West African roots known as (le Vodou) and a part of French and European heritage as well due to the lasting French colonization in early days.
The country’s population is well around 10 million, but had suffered a slight deficiency of 0.7% percent due to the 2010 earthquake that left many victims behind (300,000 deaths). 8 of that 10 million are in poverty, while 1.2 million (12%) percent of those who are working are underpaid; which makes I very difficult to meet their basic need just like those living in poverty. The country has a male literacy level of 63.8% and 58.3 among women according to UNESCO and the last census that was done in 2008 (UNESCO, 2012). It is believe that the level of literacy is far better in urban than it is in rural areas; (80.5% against 47.1%) according to a report of the Haitian National Commission for Cooperation with the UNESCO (2012). Needless to explain the key role illiteracy plays in Haiti's poverty and lack of development. The urgency to reduce illiteracy that enslaves the Haitian population in poverty is what defines Brice Foundation existence as a nonprofit organization.
OUR CORE VALUES
Brice Foundation is an ethical organization that respects and values its name. Our work is solely based on love and compassion for those in need and the urgency to reduce the illiteracy rate in our society. For that reason, every donation received by us goes straight in sponsoring programs that can relieve the social and economic condition of the 80% of the Haitian population who are struggling to satisfy their basic needs on a daily basis. Our values and characteristics are: Professionalism, Independence, Consistency, and accountability, Respect, Commitment, Boldness, Quality, Honesty, Integrity, Love and Compassion.
OUR ACTION PLAN
Here at Brice Foundation we believe in order to change the socioeconomic condition of those who are struggling in Haiti and any other developing country, quality and affordable education is the key which follows by better living condition for the poor. Poverty and illiteracy walk side by side, whenever the illiteracy rate is high among a population, the risk for that population to become poor s very high. So as a group of professionals who are passionate about reducing poverty in our community and perhaps around the world through education our action plan is:
* Carefully select the best projects across the country that can bring about solid and positive changes within the society socially, professionally and economically, and then concretize them. We do that by assessing each community for its needs.
* We provide grants, awards and scholarships to those who merit them in order to further their education so they can go back and change their communities or villages where they came from. We also seek to influence our partners and other individuals who are financially capable to invest in social and cultural projects that might be very beneficial to the youth and the society as a whole.
* It is not surprising that there's a close relation between poverty and economic freedom. In fact, experts believe that other than illiteracy, reducing poverty developing countries involves helping people in those countries to achieve their own economic freedom and stability. With that says, part of our plan at Brice Foundation is to help people create their financial freedom throughout the years by establishing a micro credit system that can help empower the poor and become entrepreneurs instead of being depended on others.
OUR FOCUS AREAS
Our mission here at Brice Foundation is centered in three key aspects in the society: Social, Educational and Professional:
a) Social assistance to the underprivileged ones; those with low or without any income, in case of sickness, hunger, hopelessness and homelessness, and other tragedies that might turn their lives upside down.
b) Accompany the population in becoming more educated, more informed both socially and culturally, and help them achieve their financially freedom.
c) Professional accompaniment; this involves assistance techniques and professionals that can trigger a greater sense of leadership and professionalism among our young professionals. Our plan to achieve such a goal is through a program known as “Framing Future Leaders.”
At Brice Foundation we attribute such a great importance to education and financial freedom because they are the most important tools in fighting poverty, inequality, social injustice and the modern slavery system that’s been implemented in the country for quite sometimes. We strongly believe that only through education and empowering those in need that Brice Foundation will make those things happen and remain sustainable for generations to come. This is the reason why we make the our top priority to ensure that those in needs have access to good schools and other types of training deemed important to help them acquire skills to support themselves and their families at little or no cost to them. Our aphorism is summed up in those few words; a Better and Brighter Future for Everyone.
How important is Education in Reducing Poverty?
Poverty has serious negative effects on education. When a child is hungry he/she can’t focus, as a result it would become very difficult for that child to memorize anything, and children in poverty miss more days in school than any other group of children. It is almost indisputable that education is crucial in reducing poverty. Although many are those who are suffering are educated due to slow economic growth of that country. However, we can largely say that there’s a correlation between poverty and lack of education. Education is very important for development and progress in any country, especially in poor or developing countries like Haiti, etc. When people are educated, they tend to become more independent and are able to take their future in hand.
For that reason, education for everyone is one of our chosen tools to achieve our primary goal, which is eliminating illiteracy and reducing the long sufferance of the Haitian population. Often when talking about poverty people simply see poverty as not having enough to eat or money to satisfy one’s basic need such as food, clothing, shelter, etc. But the truth is, poverty is much more than just not having enough to eat. Poverty is hunger, poverty is lack of shelter, poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor, poverty is not having access to school, poverty is, not knowing how to read and write one’s own name, poverty is waking up with the same dirty clothes every single day whole taking a bath becomes a luxury, poverty is not having a job, poverty is losing hope that tomorrow will be better and to live life one day at a time as a result.
So for education to have serious, positive and durable impact on poverty those are a few areas we plan to address in order to help the youth get better and quality education:
1 - Allow the youths to acquire a balanced personality and confidence in themselves, many psychologists agreed on the fact that for an individual or a nation to progress, that individual or nation has to know his/her values and his/her ability.
2 - Teach and motivate them to love and protect the future of their country and appreciate the sacrifice of our ancestors who laid down their lives in order for us to become a nation that should be well respected and appreciated for our great sacrifices in freeing other nations from slavery, even though many of them have developed serious prejudice against us throughout the years.
3 - Allowing them to acquire general knowledge that can enable them in positive direction at the highest possible level of qualification.
4 - Make sure that every child has the same chance to go and stay in school, and then being treated legitimately regardless of his/her social back ground, economic status and region of origin.
5 - Advocate and support schools which strive to achieve equity of outcomes.
6 - Advocate and support intervention programs that provide academic, social and community support to raise the success of disadvantaged children and youth in the population.
7 - Make others aware of the short, medium and long-term costs of allowing these children and youth to fail or leave school.
8 - Never miss a personal opportunity to support the potential educational success of the children and youth who we come into contact with.
9 - Advocate for an educational system within schools and the department of education to maximize educational attainment. This includes social and emotional support for those who desperately need it.
10 - And finally advocate for quality early education and care to minimize differences between children’s school readiness before entering school.
Those initiatives describe above are intended to target families and children who are in needs such as:
• those who are living in severe poverty.
• those who do not attend school due to financial hardship.
• those who are unable to support themselves due to diseases, illnesses complications, etc.
• those whom parents are no longer have any source of income to support them because of death of a parent, or loss of a job, etc.
*** We believe that mass education at little or no cost is the foundation for any social revolution or modernity in our century for any developing country especially in Haiti. For that reason, our primary goal at BRICE Foundation is to build multiple academic institutions with both technical and professional capacity to educate and train the youth and the rest of the population in all nine departments in the country for a better tomorrow. Our school would be equipped with a clinic, a library, a canteen, and a cultural Centre ***.
Based on experiments, exposure of an individual to schooling, for just one to two years, clearly enhances fundamental executive functioning and other cognitive skills that are known to be used in reasoning and abstract thinking and better decision making according to many psychologists.Improving the well-being of the population through the acquisition of knowledge for the development and improvement of living conditions and to reduce the illiteracy rate in the country while supporting our children and protect their future. The foundation values families and help them find financial opportunity to send their children to school. And once the evaluation is done, the actions of the foundation will aim directly to the poorest group in the society; the forgotten ones, those who can’t be heard or seen because of their social and economic situation. This is what drives Brice Foundation motive and we invite everyone who shares our ideas to join us.
The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.
Did you know one out of 10 school-aged children in Haiti is affected by a modern slavery system known as "Restavek" and 2 out of 5 children who are actually born would never reach the age of 5 due to poverty and poor health condition? Our mission is to change this shameful image by putting those children in school.
Mother Teresa once said, "if you can't feed 100 people, then try to feed one." This was her way to say when it's question about helping those in need nothing is never too little. The worst scenario is not to do anything at all. When you support us, you help the unloved and the forgotten ones; those who are without voice.
Poverty and illiteracy are two major social issues in Haiti and it's been this way for years. 65 to 70% of the population don't know how to read and write their own names, while approximately 80% of the population are living in absolute poverty. 12% of those who are working are underpaid. This clearly shows the link that exists poverty and illiteracy. We have implemented various programs to help change this matter.
Support our Children and Protect Their Future: This is a program that we have implemented across the country to help children go to school or stay in school. Through this program we pay school for children who are orphans, who are in the streets, or who have no one to provide for them. We also feed them, give them clothes, shoes, toys, etc. To learn more about this program, click here...
Empower the Poor: Through this program we help and teach those in poverty various ways to get out of poverty and become independent. We loan money to those who are trust worthy to materialize their business ideas. We also provide professional assistance to them in order to make sure they are heading in the right direction.
Framing Future Leaders: With this program we help adults and young adults who are in difficulty to further their education to become professionals and entrepreneurs. We provide both social and financial support and scholarships to them with the commitment when they finish their education the will return to their communities to develop them.
18,000 to 25,000 children die from hunger-related causes every day. This means every four seconds a child loses his/her life. To end poverty world-wide it would only cost $175 billion, which equal to 0.7% of the total income of the 30 countries who comprised the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This is less than one percent of the combined income of the richest countries in the world. Learn the facts, know your world and make a change.