Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a scenario for me: you have multiple children, you’re low on money, and it’s been difficult to make ends meet. Paying for food is a struggle, let alone paying for school tuition. You’re faced with a decision…which of your children will you be able to send to school?

In Haiti, public school is expensive, and countless mothers are faced with this decision. Which of their children will have an education and a future, and which will not? In the most desperate situations, mothers may be forced to choose which children they can afford to keep…and which must be sent away to a relative, or even to a stranger, in a form of slavery called restavek. There are more than 400,000 restavek children in Haiti. Most are reduced to household servants and often abused.

Twenty-four members of the Joseph Family. Mama Joseph is in the center back, with the orange bandana.

We recently had the opportunity to meet a rare exception to the culture of restavek: the Joseph Family (pictured right). Incredibly, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph have 11 children and 36 grandchildren all living under one roof! The Josephs face a daily struggle to afford food and school tuition, but they’ve rejected the idea of restavek because they believe it is wrong. 

“Every night, before my husband and I sleep, we pray that God will provide for our kids,” said Mama Joseph.

Some of the children and grandchildren have been able to go to school, and others haven’t. Their youngest daughter, Sagine, was in her final grade of secondary school when she was sent back home because they could not pay her remaining tuition. It looked like $300 was going to keep her from graduating. 

That’s when faithful Forward Edge partners stepped in to provide the needed funds. Sagine is back in school now and able to finish her high school education, all because a few folks came together to provide $300. This literally changed her entire future!

Since Mother’s Day this year, We’ve been thinking a lot about Mama Joseph—the sacrifices she’s made for her children, and the thankfulness she expressed to us for helping her youngest finish school. We’ve also thought about the countless other Haitian mothers in the same desperate situation, praying for similar miracles for their children.

Our hope in Haiti is to help more families thrive, and to prevent caring mothers like Mama Joseph from having to choose which children can have an education…or worse, which children they can even keep. We’re grateful for faithful supporters who can come alongside these hard-working mothers to help them provide for their children.

Would you consider a special gift today towards helping more mothers like Mama Joseph care for their children? Your gift today will not only help provide for school, food, safe water and spiritual care…it could literally prevent children from being sold into slavery. Thank you in advance!
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