Students Host Fundraiser for Restavek Freedom Haiti

Emma Roorda | Reporter

The recent fundraising event held by Redeemer’s Global Workplace Justice Club was more than just your average bake sale. While there was a plethora of delectable baked goods to be bought, sugary treats were not the only thing drawing eager students to the Commons on the evening of January 27.


The fundraiser was a social night, including community board games, live music presented by local Redeemer students, rich coffee to warm you up if you were feeling cold, and some citrusy virgin punch if you were feeling a bit hot.


Why all of these jamming activities in one place, you ask? The entire event was a way to advocate and raise money for an organization called Restavek Freedom. This grassroots organization is located in the country of Haiti and works toward abolishing child slavery in the region.


In the Haitian national language of Creole, the word “restavek” refers to a child who has been forced to live as a enslaved domestic servant to a foreign family. Its seemingly comforting English translation “to stay with” actually has very ugly connotations attached. The Restavek Freedom website describes the word as a child who is “staying with another person or extended family member [and] is treated as property and exploited for labor.” The organization aims to release the Haitian children who have been brutally victimized and labeled as “restavek,” bringing them renewed hope and a brighter future.


Colene Jansen, the Global Workplace Justice Club President, explains that part of the goal of Restavek Freedom is to “help Haitian families realize that having domestic slaves is very a detrimental practise.” It is about changing the status quo and transforming the victimizing cultural stigmas that go along with child slavery in the country.


The evening was a happy success, raising over $300. These donations will be sent directly to the Restavek organization in Haiti. Every dollar counts, so on behalf of Redeemer’s Global Justice Workplace Club, I would like to thank all the students who came out, played a round of pictionary, and enjoyed a baked good or two while humming along to Hannah Brinkman’s creative cover of “Put Your Records On.” Fourth-year student William Beaupre sums up the evening, affirming that the night was full of “good games, good food, and good friends — and all for a good cause.”