Arlene Flaherty, OP and Brian John Stevens.
SSND and Beyond Borders Liaisons to the AMSSND- Beyond Borders Partnership in Haiti
“The moment I see a child enslaved, as I was, I’ll do everything in my power to free that child. I know that if someone had done that for me and said “no, this can’t happen,” like we do in the Adult Survivors Network, I wouldn’t have suffered as I did. I found Caitlin when she was 11 years old. Her parents sent her to the city to live with a woman there. Her father didn’t know where she was living. This woman never fed Caitlin and she survived on the cold food others left on their plates. She made Caitlin sleep outside on the porch with nothing. She had nowhere to go, she didn’t know anyone here and had no choice but to stay in the situation she was in. Finally, after being cut with a knife, Caitline couldn’t take the abuse anymore and ran away. While she was wandering the streets, she found a man who took her in but wanted to make her a prostitute. I found Caitline with him, and I saw how much she had been abused. I contacted Beyond Borders and, together with the Adult Survivors Network, we did everything to help Caitlin escape the situation she was in. We removed her from the house she was staying in, and after locating her family, she was reunited with them. I feel proud every time I see how she is doing. She has become a child like every other child. and now I feel strong, and I feel capable. I feel even stronger so we can go even further, so that no child will ever be a slave again.” Mirielle, Survivor, and Child Protection Advocate, Lagonav, Haiti.
This powerful testimony of a survivor of child trafficking was shared by Grace Sciamanna, SSND, co-chair of the Province Haiti Collaboration Committee, during the annual AMSSND-Beyond Borders partnership review meeting on April 8. Mirielle, who has been trained by Beyond Borders as a Child Protection Team Member, continues to overcome the trauma of her own exploitation, and uses her experience to bring children today back from exploitation, and into the fullness of their rights and dignity. Mirielle is one of many Haitian women whose lives have been changed by Beyond Borders, our partner in Haiti. The entire three-hour 2022 annual partnership review on April 8th, facilitated by Barbara Valuckas, SSND, was packed with hope-filled evidence of how the Haitian people of Lagonav are, despite significant challenges, and daunting obstacles are embracing their human rights and living into the fullness of their God-given potential. Many representatives of the “village that it takes” to nurture and develop the SSND-Beyond Borders Haiti partnership contributed to making the partnership review the success that it was.
The Haiti Collaboration Committee’s reflections on the past year’s work illustrated the commitment of the group to keep the province and our wider network engaged in the partnership through zooms, reflection resources, and Friday newsletter updates. In addition to ongoing education of the province and its wider network about the Haiti partnership, we were especially proud by the response of Baltimore’s Caroline Center women whose engagement with the women in Haiti offered these reflections. The Haiti presentation “lets us know about what is going on in another part of the world. We as women are strong. Let’s get together and let the women of Haiti know that we support them.” This expressed solidarity is a beautiful illustration of the SSND focus on oneness, and how it is being nurtured through this partnership.
In his report on the past year’s work, David Diggs, the Executive Director and co-founder of Beyond Borders,explained that efforts to advance the movement to end child slavery have so far this year focused on continuing to build the capacity of local leaders and local government to replicate the child protection model that the Beyond Borders team on Lagonav pioneered. Most of this work takes place across nearly 40 rural communities on the Island. But, with SSND partnership support, we’ve also expanded work into two new neighborhoods of Lagonav’s provincial capital, Ansagale, so that roughly half of the urban population is now included in our work as well.
The work of the SSND Beyond Borders in Haiti continues to grow. This report details some of the amazing work accomplished this year.
Read more. The Full Report and Achievements - CLICK HERE
Beyond Borders Leadership, Staff and Board Member: David Diggs, Kristie van de Wetering, Brian Stevens, Kits Sarther, Rachelle Martinez
SSND Leadership: Charmaine Krohe, Mary Roy Weiss, Paula Dukehart, Nancy Gilchriest, Margaret Malone, Mary Fitzgerald
Province Haiti Collaboration Committee: Mary Gunning, Limeteze Pierre Gilles, Grace Sciamanna, Kathy Sylvester, Laurie Molner, Bernie Ballasty, Kay O’Connell, Carleen Cekal, Leonora Tucker, Cathy Bonfield, Arlene Flaherty
SSND-Matenwa Teacher Training: Sharon Slear, Kathleen Sipes, (ab), Chris Low, Kody Emmanuel, Lisa Pallet (ab)
SSND Staff: Laura Lang, Mary Lennon
Roxanne Schares, Ines Camiran, Carolyn Anyega, Julie Lattner, Martina Radez
Facilitator - Barbara Valuckas