Elisna is originally from Gonaives, a city in the north of Haiti that was devastated by hurricanes in 2004 and again in 2008. Among the thousands who were killed in the floods was Elisna’s mother, who was everything to her and her only support. For Elisna, this tragedy resulted in her becoming a restavek and moving from Gonaives to Port-au-Prince.
In exchange for her housing, she works for her host family as a domestic servant. She wakes early in the morning to begin the daily chores, which include cleaning, laundry, cooking, bringing the other children to school, and helping in the market.
Despite long hours of hard work, she is treated very poorly by her hosts and finds no help outside of the household. She suffers from extended, traumatic stretches without eating at home, from chronic fevers, undernutrition, and depression, and from abuse. She often cries when she is going home after school and feels very lucky to be able to come to IHCD.