Ester’s Wish for the Safety of Girls in Haiti

Lodz Joseph, Haiti Adolescent Girls Network Coordinator

Gender-based violence remains a chronic problem in Haiti, affecting hundreds of girls and women each year. The Haiti Adolescent Girls Network works to protect and empower vulnerable girls, so they may safely navigate the volatile post-earthquake environment and break the cycle of poverty. It provides them with a safe space to spend time with their peers, learn about their rights, and obtain the support of trusted adults.

Ester is one of more than 500 girls in the Espas Pa Mwen (EPM) program who finds solace and support at Profamil. The assets she gains by participating in EPM encourage her to promote new social norms that don’t tolerate the gender-based violence Ester sees destroying her community. She wants a Haiti that is safe – for her mother, her friends, and all girls and women.

After a recent EPM session about violence against women and girls, Ester told her mentor she had a poem she wanted to share with the group. This is what she recited:

Look at this nation
Where only violence occurs
When will mothers stop shedding tears
For her violated children

When will water stop flowing from my eyes
For those unkind acts on women

Testify: enough is enough!

Women can’t walk free and liberated
They are watching
Like when eagles watch chicken

Stop beating women like animals
Stop crumbling them into pieces
Stop humiliating
And see them as people

Women deserve love and respect
They have rights just like you

Everyone is born from a woman
Our flag of freedom was sewn by a woman
It hurts to see women raped of her right
To human rights

President, Prime Minster, Police
All Haitians must work together
Hand in hand
To capture those committing unkind acts
On women
The pillars of this country

Ester's Wish for the Future of Girls in Haiti



What a powerful poem. Thank you to the Haiti Adolescent Girls Network for providing a safe space for girls and women to express themselves and become empowered to stand up for their rights. I pray that Ester's desire to live in a safe country, free from gender-based violence, will become a reality in her lifetime. Bondye beni w.

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