Stay with host family disrupted by the earthquake
It’s tough being pregnant at 15, living with a foster family and dealing with the horrors of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that left 2,200 dead, 12,700 injured, and affected 800,000 people
It’s tough being pregnant at 15, living with a foster family, and dealing with the horrors of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that left 2,200 dead, 12,700 injured and affected 800,000 people. This is what Love Anchise, a Haitian adolescent, rejected by her parents, experienced. With the help of UNICEF and partners, she was reunited with her family three months later.
Tozia, December 11, 2021 - This Monday in November is a day to remember for Love Anchise, who returns home to find her father. “I am very happy to return home. My parents encouraged me. My brother, my aunt, and my mother-in-law too,” she said in the vehicle that brought her from Les Cayes in the South Department to Tozia in Grand’Anse, Haiti.
Getting pregnant took a toll on the 15-year-old. It turned into a nightmare when an earthquake struck and destroyed the foster family's home where she lived because she was rejected by her parents. “I gave birth on November 14 at 2:30 a.m. Everything went well. I'm well. My little girl too,” she said, smiling.
With the help of a midwife, Love gave birth three months to the day after the earthquake, in the house next door where her foster family have been relocated. Long before that, the adolescent girl experienced health issues and was hospitalized and followed by a gynecologist for eight days. The earthquake postponed her family reunification that had been scheduled for the end of August, as her father's house in Tozia was also damaged.
Love stayed for a long time without going to her home in Tozia, apart from a brief stint in July. She had gone to live with her mother in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, where she became pregnant. Her mother then asked him to return to her father’s home, but the latter refused to take her in. “My dad didn't want to receive me, neither did my mother-in-law. Everyone cursed at me. I had to go and live in Les Cayes,” said the child. One night, she was found in a moto-taxi station in Les Cayes and referred to the agency in charge of child protection, IBESR.
This is how Love was placed with a foster family, while IBESR and her partner NGO God’s Vision For Haiti carried out family tracing and mediation, to get her father’s agreement to take her in. With support from UNICEF, psychosocial follow-up is offered to the adolescent by IBSER and the NGO Center for Training and Research in Psychosocial Support (CFRAPS), as well as a food kit, a mattress, sheets, clothes, etc. and a 100 USD check for her return to his father's house.
“I feel very good today. I show respect to the people who have helped my daughter,” said Mirevien Toussaint, Love's father, when she arrived home with her two-week-old baby. “For several months, they have taken care of my daughter. The baby was born at their place, not at my house. These are the same people who picked up my daughter from the street,” he added.
Mirevien was bitter when he learned that his daughter was pregnant, while he made every effort to pay for her education. Thanks to the work of IBESR and the partners, the 46-year-old has changed his mind. Today, he is ready to make a clean sweep of the past. “What happened to my daughter can happen to anyone. After having a child, an adolescent girl can go back to school. That’s the most important thing,” Mirevien clarified.
And this is the wish of Love who would love to go back to school to have a job that allows her to raise her little girl well. "I want to take good care of my child and I need my father's support to do this," she said.
The 14 August earthquake weakened families and communities in southwestern Haiti and made thousands of children more vulnerable. Since the onset of the natural disaster, UNICEF, IBESR, and partners have reunited 27 children with their families and assisted 600 children in 150 host families in the Grand Sud.
UNICEF, 75 years serving the children of the world, 44 years serving the children of Haiti.
UNICEF thanks all donors who contributed to the response effort to the earthquake of August 14, 2021, in Haiti: AECID, Canada, Citi Foundation, ECHO, ECW FER, France, Germany, GPE, HP Foundation, Impetus Foundation, Japon, LDSC, Lego Foundation, Liechtenstein, Madrid City Council, Meta, SIDA- Suède, Target Corporation, UNCERF, USAID, Wallonie-Bruxelles International, The Walt Disney Company, Xunta De Galicia - UNICEF National committees: Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom , United States - UNICEF CO: Argentina, Peru.