Safe spaces for bright futures

Ester’s Wish for the Safety of Girls in Haiti

Ester’s Wish for the Safety of Girls in Haiti

Lodz Joseph, Haiti Adolescent Girls Network Coordinator
May, 2013

Gender-based violence remains a chronic problem in Haiti, affecting hundreds of girls and women each year. The Haiti Adolescent Girls Network works to protect and empower vulnerable girls, so they may safely navigate the volatile post-earthquake environment and break the cycle of poverty. It provides them with a safe space to spend time with their peers, learn about their rights, and obtain the support of trusted adults.

Ester is one of more than 500 girls in the Espas Pa Mwen (EPM) program who finds solace and support at Profamil. The assets she gains by participating in EPM encourage her to promote new social norms that don’t tolerate the gender-based violence Ester sees destroying her community. She wants a Haiti that is safe – for her mother, her friends, and all girls and women.

After a recent EPM session about violence against women and girls, Ester told her mentor she had a poem she wanted to share with the group. This is what she recited:

Look at this nation

Where only violence occurs

When will mothers stop shedding tears

For her violated children

 

When will water stop flowing from my eyes

For those unkind acts on women

 

Testify: enough is enough!

 

Women can’t walk free and liberated

They are watching

Like when eagles watch chicken

 

Stop beating women like animals

Stop crumbling them into pieces

Stop humiliating

Stop!

And see them as people

 

Women deserve love and respect

They have rights just like you

 

Everyone is born from a woman

Our flag of freedom was sewn by a woman

It hurts to see women raped of her right

To human rights

 

President, Prime Minster, Police

All Haitians must work together

Hand in hand

To capture those committing unkind acts

On women

The pillars of this country