Safe spaces for bright futures

Ester's Wish for the Future of Girls in Haiti

Ester's Wish for the Future of Girls in Haiti

April, 2012

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