Our Initial Work in Haiti
Envisioning us working with all age ranges, I took down some easy readers and a few toys. I even had a “little old lady who swallowed a fly” doll for the littles.
Before long however, we knew that we were supposed to be working with the older kids.
While working on the file project I realized that a large number of the kids were getting close to aging out of the orphanage. Spending time with them each day was invaluable to start to understand more about some of the challenges that they faced as they got older.
In Haiti kids age out of the adoption process at 16 years old. As they age out of the orphanage they need to find a way to then provide for themselves. Without a family to fall back on, they are left to make it on their own putting them at an increased risk of being vulnerable to human trafficking.
The Questions I Asked Myself
One evening while we were walking around the courtyard watching the kids play, I noticed a young man sitting off by himself. The young kids around him were teasing him but as I approached they all ran off. I said hello and introduced myself. He spoke pretty good English so we began to talk for a few minutes.
He told me that he spoke 4 languages; Creole, French, English and Spanish. Intrigued, I began to ask him more about himself. He said that he wanted to continue his studies and learn more languages.
That night I kept thinking about my new friend. I kept thinking:
What were his options as he neared aging out of the adoption process?
When it was time for him to leave the orphanage would he be able to continue to go to school?
How would he provide for himself when the country currently struggles with a 40% unemployment rate on conservative estimates and human trafficking is prevalent?