In the summer of 2014, Shout Mouse Press traveled to Haiti to partner with the Restavek Freedom Foundation.
Restavek--which in Creole means 'to stay with'--is a term for exploited children working as unpaid domestic laborers. The system of restavek is part of a deeply-embedded Haitian tradition designed to help poor families: in principle, children are sent to live with wealthier others to be treated like family and enrolled in school in exchange for small services. But in reality, children are often forced to work as domestic servants, performing menial tasks for no pay. They are rarely provided opportunities for education and are often emotionally or physically abused. According to RFF, the system of restavek affects one in every fifteen children in Haiti and is a form of modern-day slavery.
Restavek Freedom's mission is simple: to end child slavery in Haiti in our lifetime.
RFF advocates for children by providing educational opportunities for those in restavek; influences communities to help change cultural norms regarding restavek; and mobilizes community leaders to stand up for freedom.
That's where Shout Mouse Press comes in.
Our mission is to empower 15 brave young women who grew up in restavek to become authors, telling their story to the world: creating awareness, outrage, and empathy, and instilling hope in the children currently living in restavek to know that their story matters, and their voices are being heard.