Keeping former child slaves safe in the south of Haiti

While we were in Haiti this spring, we visited the safe house for former child slaves and homeless children being run by our friend Morgan Wienberg. Morgan works for Little Footprints / Big Steps and has been directly supporting homeless youth in the city of Les Cayes in the south of Haiti for years now. She has lived with them, nurtured them, kept them safe, and seen them grow. The children she oversees live full time in the space with her. The compound itself consists of a central house in the middle of an open space surrounded by a ten foot high concrete wall.

In discussion with Morgan, she explained that while the safe house and the space they live in is generally safe, a lack of barbed wire on the walls around the compound means that people have been breaking in at night, harassing the youth, stealing from them, and being violent. We asked if having barbed wire around the compound at the top of the walls would help. Morgan said that the problem is that the house is a rental, and the landlord is unwilling to do any improvements to it as a result.

We have found that solving problems is often about disregarding limits: we asked if we could fund not only the barbed wire, and its installation, but also the removal of the barbed wire at any point in the future that Morgan and the children moved out of the space. Then the landlord could have his unsafe safe house back! Morgan happily agreed, and the plan was set in place.

For these boys, all of whom were on the streets before Little Footprints / Big Steps invited them to have a better life inside the walls of the safe house, life has not been easy. They suffer from post traumatic stress disorder at times, which is heightened by a lack of personal safety within the compound when there is no barbed wire. We are going to change that this month. You made this possible through your donations. More details to come as the barbed wire is installed.