My name is Jillian, I am the director of an orphanage in Haiti, and I am privileged to live with some of the strongest and most faith-filled kids in the world. Their stories daily touch my heart, their dreams constantly inspire my own, and their faith challenges me to grow in my love for God every day.
Although I admire all the kids at the orphanage, there are three girls I want to introduce you to who daily challenge my faith. Their names are Dulta, Liberus, and Marnelle. I recently sat down with them to ask them some questions that have been stirring in my mind for quite some time about girls in Haiti. My hope is that you will see their faces, read their responses, and be able to connect with these girls as your sisters in Christ.
Dulta is 21 and dreams of being an Orthopedic Surgeon. She moved to the orphanage after her father died when she was six.
When I asked Dulta what she thought her life would have been like if she had not moved to the orphanage, she said without hesitation, “I’d be pregnant.” Shocked, I asked why. She replied by explaining that when a young girl is in need of food and does not have a mom and dad who can feed them, she will find a man instead. “The man will give the girl money for sex and will feed her as long as she is pretty.” If it wasn’t for the orphanage, she said she would have been tempted to be one of these in order to survive.
As our conversation was concluding I questioned Dulta about why she has faith in God. She smiled, saying, “Because God saved me. God gave me a place to live. He helped me in school and helped me pass my exams. He has made me the woman I am today.”
And what is her advice to us American girls? “Take school seriously and put God first. And don’t be aggressive with boys,” she said while laughing. “Wait until after graduation to date and let the boys come to you later.”
Liberus is 22 and hopes to be a doctor. She moved to the orphanage with her younger brother after her parents passed away.
I asked Liberus about growing up as a girl in Haiti. Liberus shared that if you are raised in a family that goes to church and sends you to school, life as a girl is good. Many girls, however, don’t have good families and therefore face many temptations. When I asked Liberus to explain these temptations she said that, “Some people do bad things downtown and girls who don’t have church and school in their lives can be easily impressed. They are tempted to wear clothes to impress boys and then end up getting pregnant before they are ready.”
Liberus says that American girls and Haitien girls are not that different from one another. “We go to the beach. We dance and listen to music. We go to the movies and we both like church. We are the same.” She continued by saying, “I hope that American girls have faith in God because God is great. He exists. I know because He has done big things in my life. He took me to the orphanage. He sent me to school; He took care of me and He will take care of them too.”
Marnelle is 23 and about to enter her last year of secondary school. She moved to the orphanage when her mother died.
When asked what the similarities and differences between American girls and Haitien girls are, Marnelle answered, “We are the same but we are different in many ways. Most American girls have parents to take care of them. When they get older, it is easy for them to have a job. And when they make mistakes, there are people in their lives that can help them. Many Haitien girls do not have these things.”
Marnelle dreams of becoming a Pediatric Nurse so she can help kids on the streets who are sick and cannot afford medical care. In her own words, “God has done a lot of things for me. He prevented me from experiencing a lot of bad things outside of the orphanage and I want to help kids the way He had people help me when I was young.”
My hope is that you will pray.
I pray that you will never take your blessings for granted. Study hard in school and be reminded of all the girls in Haiti who will never have the opportunity to open a book. Work hard in your jobs and think about the girls in Haiti whose only business is selling their bodies for a day’s worth of food. And daily thank God for the gift of hope.
I pray that you will share your blessings with girls everywhere.
And I hope that you will daily pray that God will use Dulta, Liberus, and Marnelle in Haiti to do great works for His Kingdom.
I felt called to share Dulta, Liberus, and Marnelle with you. Maybe it is because they are young women like us, or maybe, just maybe, God chose their stories just for you!