Meet Andrise, a young Haitian girl who turned ten on October 29th. From the devastating earthquake last January that wiped out her home and killed many of her relatives, to the ongoing cholera outbreak, to the massive flooding from Hurricane Tomas in November, Andrise has seen more turmoil in her short life than anyone should ever have to experience, young or old.
Today, home is a tent in a temporary settlement camp in the Carrefour Feuilles neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Andrise is one of the half million Haitian children scattered throughout camps like this one, where she lives with her mother, exposed to the elements and worse. Andrise is scared to be there, and not without good reason.
As Save the Children reports, children who’ve been displaced to camps and slums are under constant threat of abuse and exploitation — the vast majority lack access to social services and protection. Even before the earthquake, some 1.2 million children were vulnerable to violence, exploitation and domestic servitude.
But despite the hardship and fear, Andrise holds on to hope, in that refreshing way that only a child can. October not only brought Andrise’s birthday, but the chance to go back to school for the first time since the earthquake.
Proud in her be-ribboned pigtails and new pink uniform, she is quick to say that she’s the best in her class – and that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up.
Aid workers from Save the Children’s emergency response team first met Andrise right after the earthquake, and they’ve been following her story ever since. Watch and listen as Andrise describes what her life has been like this year.
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Photo courtesy of Save the Children via YouTube