Dear Manmy Ellen and BEM Leaders,
We are so happy to announce the arrival of the frist group of the RESTAVEC FREEDOM PROGRAM AT OUR FIRST HOME OF REFUGE AT CHANTAL. So, definitely December 14, 2010 , The Restavec Freedom Alliance is making history.16 children who were mostly serving as pratically slaves are from today FREE. By the grace of God, more than what I expected to show up came, I couldn't turn them down. They are eager to be free and find their human dignity once again. So we endup having those sixteen to start with. BUT MANY OTHER ONES ARE ON OUR WAITTING LIST for the second home I promise them that's soon to be opened.
Please view some of the pictures.
And with that, the newest ministry of BEM, the Restavec Freedom Alliance, opened the doors in Chantal, 20 miles west of Les Cayes. This is a humanitarian ministry co-founded by Pastor Jean Phares Beaucejour and Ellen Graber Donohue. It fits in the hollistic vision of B.E.M - To serve in response to the call of God in the great commission to go to all the world and preach the gospel, to teach, to restore mankind health and promotes freedom and well beeing: Spiritually, Physically, mentally or emotionally, socially and economically. A ministry that covers Spirit, Soul and Body.
The discussion surrounding the forming of the Restavec Freedom Alliance occurred in August 2010. During a mission visit working with the HELO orphanages, Pastor Jean Beaucejour spoke with Ellen Donohue, sharing with her the plight of the Restavec children and his vision as to how to help. During deep discussions with her family upon returning to the states, Pastor Lubin in the US, and within her own soul, Ellen found that this was exactly what should be done and how she could best assist in helping. Working together with both Pastor Jean and Lubin, and others that spiritually supported her, the alliance became a reality and start up money was given by the most generous of ladies. Fundraising officially began, and Pastor Jean set up a network within his communities to determine which restavec children he could free from their circumstances. The first area to house these children was determined, and the first parents were named. This is our first home. We have a waiting list of another 30 children.
The mission of the group is dedicated to providing a safe, stable, family centered environment for these children.Homes of Refuge will be set up with the Pastor's families as the supporting parents. Each child will have access to an education, medical support, loving care, psychiatric care, and adequate food, clean water and sanitary facilities. Most importantly, each child will have access to a childhood.
As some background, Haiti has a large number of children who live outside their parents homes, and serve in deplorable situations. A report from the United Nations states:
Restavec in Creole means staying with and is a term used for children sent to live with other families. The move often lands children in a situation of unpaid domestic service where they are deprived of their most basic right. In pre-earthquake Haiti there are approximately 225,000 Restavec children.
Due to the crushing poverty rate, many poor parents believe the city offers great opportunity and better educational programs for their children.
Children are offered as servants to families, distant relatives, friends or total strangers. Often, an education or trade is promised for the child. This promise is false.
Children work from daybreak to sundown on household chores. They have no childhood and no future.
They are not allowed to go to school. They have no education.
They are often beaten and abused sexually. They are powerless.
The call to help was felt by many.
Our first home is a rented house near our land in Chantal. This home will serve our 16 children and the Pastor's family until we build more permanent structures on our land. Bunk beds are built for the children so they can sleep in two separate rooms - one for boys and one for girls. We will build a small cook-house on the land, as well as an ample latrine. Tables and chairs are purchased, as well as housewares.The BEM board determined that Chantal is the next location for a community well, which will be started shortly on the land. A school will be the first structure to be established on the land, followed by the homes for boys and girls, a community dining area, library, play yard, and a computer lab - we have many dreams.We have plans to design the structures on the land so as to use the abundant solar power available.
We are so excited that our children now have a place to call their own. Please view the pictures of the arrival and see the eyes of these children. We hope to replace the sorrow with joy, and to give blessings to these little ones.
Please VISIT OUR WEBSITE, and if you are interested in learning more, or serving with us contact email@example.com. We will follow the model of HELO in having children sponsored, and all assistance is very welcome.
Blessings to all, Ellen