IBBY-Yamada 2016: Haiti

Bibliotherapy for Haitian children of migrant families

Since May 2015 Haitians living in the Dominican Republic require proper documents or they risk deportation. Many Haitians do not have the proper documents even when they have been working in the sugar cane industry for years. Forced to leave by the military or leaving voluntarily in fear of deportation, more than 25,000 have arrived at border points in Haiti and live in temporary housing. Many of these migrants are children and have no support. The IBBY-Yamada Fund is supporting Ayibby in providing bibliotherapy sessions for these children.

Although the original plans were to assist children in the closest border points of Malpasse and Fond Parisian, eventually the Lashaobas region was chosen, in consultation with the local community group, GARR. The first step was training of the monitors (8 former trainers and 12 new monitors) on the importance of bibliotherapy, how to conduct the reading and discussion sessions and how to use the materials, especially the children's books. For each group of children, a minimum of five to seven sessions were offered. The sessions included storytelling and book readings to help the children cope with the separation from family members, their home and help them adjust to the new environment. The children's reactions were very spontaneous, especially the younger children and girls; the boys and the older children tended to be less open.