Ester's Wish for the Future of Girls in Haiti

In times of violence and tragedy, the most extraordinary results can be achieved. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a coalition of international and Haitian organizations came together to ensure girls' needs would not be overlooked. The Haiti Adolescent Girls Network is committed to protecting and empowering vulnerable girls, so they may safely navigate the volatile post-earthquake environment and break the cycle of poverty. It provides girls with a safe space to spend time with their peers, learn about their rights, and obtain the support of trusted adults.

Fifteen-year-old Ester learned about the Girls Network at PROFAMIL, our Member Association in Haiti. Ester likes to sing and dance, but her dream is to become a doctor one day. Unlike many girls her age, Ester is fortunate to still be able to attend school.

A self-described "intelligent girl," Ester joined the Haiti Adolescent Girls Network to learn how to protect herself. During the program, she developed a strong commitment to youth and women's rights and wrote a poem to express her views. Below is Ester's poem, "Stop," in English and Haitian Creole.

Because we are young
Because our brains are young
They think that we are little kids
We should not argue
But people who consider themselves older
Should be knowledgeable
We are human beings just like everyone else
We have equal rights just like everyone else
They must know
We have the right to go to school
We are entitled to health care
We have the right to speak
To express our feelings Stop, Stop!
Stop treating us like animals
Like your little tokens
Stop making us work like donkeys
We, too, are part of society
We are men
We are women
Although we are young
Stop mistreating us
Because we are human beings too
We represent the future of the country


Paske’n pa wè jou two lontan
Paske sèvo nou vyèj
Yo estime ke nou se timoun
Nou dakò nou pa ka diskite men fok moun ki di yo se gran moun yo konnen
Nou se moun menm jan ak tout moun
Nou gen dwa menm jan ak tout moun
Fòk yo konnen, nou gen dwa al lekol
Nou gen dwa pou’n jwen lasante
Nou gen dwa pou nou pale pou nou di sa nou panse
Sispann, Sispann!
Yo vann nou tankou ti bete, sispann
Fè kado nou pou yo, sispann
Travay tankou ti bourik, sispann
Nou fè pati sosyete ya tou
Nou se gason
Nou se fanm seleman
Nou se timoun
Sispann maltrete nou
Paske nou se moun tou
Nou se avni peyi a

Photo credit: Nadia Todres

Reflections on a Visit to Haiti


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