About LFBS

About Little Footprints, Big Steps

littlefootprintsbigsteps.com

About LFBS use this pic

This is a trailer for the featured full length documentary, Morgan’s Kids, to be released in 2016.

Impacting communities from the inside out while creating change through individuals participating in their own development, Little Footprints, Big Steps was founded in 2011 to aid in rescuing children from situations of abuse, slavery, homelessness or severe neglect. We provide loving care to Haiti’s most vulnerable children, and provide opportunities for self-sufficiency, self-determination and strengthened families within Haitian communities.

Little Footprints, Big Steps collaborates with local authorities and organizations to protect and heal children victimized by abuse, neglect, exploitation and homelessness. We also advocate for the prevention of child abandonment and abuse in Haiti. Our programs and services include supporting basic education, vocational training, micro-business, agriculture, health and well-being.  Our Outreach program includes regular visitations and monitoring of progress of the children and youth and their families into which we have reunited them.

In some cases children have been placed in our care by Haitian authorities, and they live in our Transitional Safe Houses. We provide a family setting for these children, as well as children escaping from the streets with truly nowhere to go, with security and 24 hour supervision. We provide nutritionally dense meals daily and provide supplements and medicines if needed.

If a child has more serious medical conditions, we will arrange for these to be addressed and treated while they recuperate at our Transitional Safe Houses. Our goal is to help these children, not only physically, but also in developing psycho-social and coping skills that their traumatic pasts may have deprived them of.

Although our Transitional Safe Houses are located in the city of Les Cayes, we also support children and youth reunited with their families across the country through our Outreach and Sponsorship programs, in 24 communes (community regions) across Haiti, from 4 different Regional Departments.

Through the support of our sponsors and donors, we are able to support more than 230 children for basic education, over 80 children have been saved from the streets, while 129 kids have been reunited with their families. Over 60 kids have received emergency medical intervention.

Youth are supported for vocational training, and such special programs Advanced English, Agricultural Training, Cruise Ship Employment, etc.

Families are supported for micro-business, livestock and agriculture opportunities. All leading toward a self-sufficient, dignified future.

We follow-up regularly, weighing and measuring the children, reviewing report cards from schools, ensuring adequate shelter, food supplies and health care.

We collaborate and partner with local authorities and government officials as well as other international development organizations.

Organizations LFBS Works With:

  • IBESR: Haitian Social Services
  • ASSOCIATION FOR THE PARENTS OF HANDICAPPED CHLDREN
  • WORKING GROUP FOR CHILD PROTECTION
  • CHILD PROTECTION BRIGADE OF THE POLICE
  • MINUSTAH: United Nations Stabilization Committee in Haiti
  • TERRE DES HOMMES INT’L FEDERATION: Network of ten national organizations working for the rights of children
  • MEDICAL TEAMS INTERNATIONAL
  • CHILDREN IN CONFLICT WITH THE LAW
  • COMMISSION FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE
  • GROUP FOR THE PROTECTION IN SOUTHERN HAITI

About Morgan

– 2011

“She was just doing some work and a cement block fell on her,” fifteen-year-old Ednel recalled. I tried to remain calm as I imagined the fragile, eight-year-old Haitian girl pinned under a heavy brick of cement. “She screamed a lot,” Ednel went on, staring straight ahead as the memory unfolded before him. “That was the second child I saw die in the orphanage.”

It’s been a year and a half since this enslaved eight year old died — yet the orphanage responsible for her is still running. What might be even more surprising? That girl had a father, stepmother and brothers living 15 minutes away. She had a family.

She’s not the only one: most “orphans” in Haiti are simply victims of extreme poverty, whose desperate parents gave them up with hope that an institution would better provide for their child.

Most “orphanages” in Haiti, unfortunately, are businesses. Inhumane conditions and emaciated, barefoot children lead to increased international aid for orphanages — so child exploitation becomes a source of income for those managing the institution. This is what I discovered firsthand.

In 2010, following January’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, I was drawn to the Caribbean country for the first time. It was about two weeks after my high school graduation and prom. I was 18 the first time I met Ednel and others starving, beaten and deprived of all basic needs, in a corrupt for-profit orphanage. But my age didn’t matter. I recognized that the mistreatment of these children was WRONG. I wasn’t about to accept it.

In 2011, I deferred my acceptance to McGill University and returned to Haiti. This time I lived alongside the children in this corrupt orphanage I’d visited. Children slept on my chest in a dusty tent as rats crawled by; they spent days doing work as no staff were hired to look after them; they hid when they were ill as they knew they’d be beaten… and in the meantime, they taught me to speak Haiti’s principal language, Kreyol.

Communication became a life-changing window of understanding, as I began to catch a glimpse into each child’s history and thoughts. I soon realized that 73 of the 75 children in this “orphanage” had families. Families!

Why are children suffering — even dying — while their parents remain unaware? What can we do about it? My answer to both of these questions is identified in three of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as I discussed at the United Nations Youth Assembly this August.

Typically, parents who have relinquished their children to for-profit orphanages, or situations of slavery, live in the impoverished communities of Haiti’s countryside and struggle to enroll their children in school. These parents dream of (1) ensuring access to education, and (2) eradicating extreme poverty and hunger in their children’s lives. But something was missing. These parents saw aid funnel into institutions. On their own, they had no access to what the MDGs identify as “global partnerships for development.” They had no access to support.

NOTE: Morgan moved to Les Cayes, in the Southwest, and spent the better part of a year sleeping in the roundabout (picture below), inside the burned out President’s mansion (picture below),  or on the streets (picture below) alongside the homeless children (as young as 7) in an attempt to gain their trust. It was hard going at first, this tall, blan (white) curled up on the dangerous streets alongside violent and angry kids, but she did eventually gain their trust, and her reputation in the town of Les Cayes grew.

I’m now 21 and have reunited approximately 50 children from this orphanage as well as over 15 former street children with their families. Another eight victimized children are living full time in our transitional safe house; I am legal guardian of four children; LFBS is advocating for parents as they trace their trafficked children; and we’re sending over 120 children to school this year! Not to mention, LFBS employs seven locals full-time.

I squeezed Ednel’s hand as he stood and gathered his backpack. He was off to summer camp, where he’d study English, French, Computer Literacy and Arts. Ednel gave his younger brother a friendly push and, with radiant confidence, they walked together to the LFBS Safe House gate.

About-LFBS-addw
About-LFBS-streetsw
About-LFBSStreets-of-Les-Cayesw