At a glance: Haiti

20 Haitian children turn their stories into movies, inspiring others in the process

By Benjamin Steinlechner

KENSCOFF, Haiti, 19 September 2011 – For one week, in a remote community overlooking Port-au-Prince, 20 children got together for a workshop to turn their stories into movies and make them known to a world- wide audience through the web.

VIDEO: Produced by Windy Brunolien, 15 years old, at the oneminutesjr. workshop in Kenscoffe, Haiti, July 2011.

 

“Children have the right to add their voices to discussions about the future direction of their country,” said UNICEF Haiti Child Protection Chief Jean Lieby. “This is an inalienable right and it is spelled out in the Convention on the Rights of Children, “ he adds.

One such voice belongs to Windy Brunolien, 15, who participated in the OneMinute Workshop, held in Kenscoff, Haiti. 

Windy’s life began to fall apart the day his mother left him and his two siblings with his older brother’s godmother. After his father died ten years ago, Windy’s mother could not financially support her family, so she decided to take a job in a far away part of town, entrusting her children to her cousin.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Haiti/2011/Steinlechner
15 years old Brunolien Windy plays the percussion and sings during the one minute movie he gave the idea for and helped to achieve with his active participation. The One Minute Project is a UNICEF-supported video training whose objective is to help children share their views in their situation and their surroundings.

Adjusting to the new home was rough. Their new caretaker would beat Windy and his siblings and force them to work hard around the house. “I thought of my mother every day,” said Windy. “But we didn’t have a phone, so I couldn’t call her. “

‘I decided to change my life’

After six years of suffering, Windy had enough.

“I decided to change my life,” he said. “My brother’s godmother gave each of us one Haitian dollar about two cents a day to buy food at school. We started to put the money aside and hid it in a secret place.”

Eventually, Windy and his siblings had saved enough money to buy a cell phone recharge card.

“I asked a neighbor to borrow his cell phone, recharged it with our card and called my mother,“ Windy recounted.

After their emotional conversation, Windy’s mother, Marie Noel, left her job, picked up her children and rented a little house in Kenscoff, a neighborhood in the mountains overlooking Port-au Prince, where a friend had found her a job as a cleaning lady.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Haiti/2011/Steinlechner
A girl films daily life as part of one the one minute movies in the hillside community of Kenskoff. The One Minute Project is a UNICEF-supported video training whose objective is to help children share their views in their situation and their surroundings.

“Everything worked out fine until I lost my job after the earthquake,” she explained.

Inspiring others

The family of four now lives in a half finished house that belongs to a friend who offered it to them until his return from abroad.
 
“I know we are in a difficult situation,” said Windy. “The most important thing is that we are together. “ He added, “I hope many children will see my video and it will inspire them to take their life in their own hands.”

Windy’s biggest wish is to become a doctor.  He hopes the video will help him raise the school fees that his mother won’t be able to pay for the next term.

Windy’s video, and those of many other children from Haiti and countries around the world, can be seen on www.oneminutejr.com as well as on www.unicef.org.


 

 

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