Stanley* is a 16 year old boy originally from one of Haiti’s poorest regions. Like 80% of the children currently living in Haiti’s orphanages, Stanley is not an orphan – he has a mother, a step-father and four younger siblings.
After the devastating Haitian earthquake of January 2010, Stanley’s family was faced with serious financial difficulties. Unable to care for him, his mother found herself forced to send him to an institution.
He would remain there for over four years, separated from his loving family because of their desperate poverty.
A team from Lumos and partners at the Institut du Bien-Être Social et de Recherches (IBESR) (The Institute of Social Welfare and Research) met Stanley in July 2015, when they began conducting individual assessments of the children living at his orphanage, and was able to build a good relationship with him.He was found to be in relatively good health, despite some delays to his physical, cognitive and emotional development.
One month later, however, Stanley himself informed the Lumos team that he had been severely abused by one of the orphanage staff. An emergency intervention plan was put in to place, with Lumos involving IBESR and the child protection police to assess the situation and to ensure that Stanley and the other children were safe. Lumos also appointed two team members to work within the institution to monitor and train staff.
Stanley was quickly moved to a safer placement, but he needed a permanent solution – he needed to return to his family. It was the role of the Lumos project team and IBESR to find them.
The team began by conducting interviews in his previous neighbourhood. Thanks to the information that Stanley had given them, they found his family with relative ease. However, although they were very keen for him to return home, both the team and the family were concerned about their living conditions, due to the poverty and danger of the area in which they were living.
Lumos supported their move to a new home nearby, so that Stanley and his siblings could live safely in the care of their parents. Just in time to start the New Year in his new life, Stanley was returned to his family in December 2015. Said his mother:
“Stanley is my first-born son. We have been through some difficult times together. God saw into my heart, and He will give me the opportunity to look after my son again. Thank you to all of you for the support and advice which made this long hoped for moment possible.”
Stanley’s new family home is still close enough to allow him to keep in touch with his friends and attend school regularly. He is flourishing in class.
“I am very happy that there are people who work to protect children in Haiti. I think that one day there will be no more mistreated children or victims of physical abuse,” he says.
But this family’s journey is not over. A crucial part of Lumos’ work with families like Stanley’s is preparing them for their new life, and helping them obtain the tools and skills needed to stay safe and together. Alongside receiving grants for household items, such as a mattress and a hygiene kit, Stanley’s parents will undergo parenting and work skills training. Their progress and the development of the children will also be carefully monitored.
With these essential measures in place, we can ensure that this happy, reunited family will never be needlessly separated again.
*All names have been changed