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Masina’s Story of Hope

Restavek is a Haitian creole word that directly translates to ‘stay with.’ In Haiti this word refers to child slaves. Currently, one in three children in Haiti, mostly girls, are domestic slaves. Masina was brought to Helping Haitian Angels (HHA) at age 9 by Haitian children services after being rescued from a child slavery situation. She was physically abused and was not allowed to attend school. She was responsible for all the housework but was given nothing, including food, in return. When she arrived at HHA, she was terrified and often stole from her house mom. She got into a lot of fights with the other kids. She was so accustomed to doing all the housework that once she came to HHA, she continued to do all the work. We had to slowly and delicately teach Masina that we are there to take care of her, not the other way around.

Masina has slowly been losing her eyesight over the last four years due to a traumatic cataract she received from the abuse she had to endure. HHA has partnered with a Haitian American eye doctor that has a clinic in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. They have been treating her eyes for years and will be doing two eye surgeries for Masina in November to restore her vision. Had Masina never been removed from her previous situation, she would likely be blind in addition to the continued trauma she would have undergone. In the four years Masina has been with HHA, she has blossomed. She is no longer fearful of adults but now feels loved and comfortable with her house mom. She started school at age 9 and is now in the fourth grade doing extremely well. She is a strong and loving teenage girl who dreams of becoming a nurse one day.

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