Multimedia Collection

Children of Shadows

DVD
54 min
2001
HD6250 .H22 C48 2004 DVD

In Haiti, many parents are forced by destitution and desperation to give away their children. The children - who may be as young as four years old - then go to live and work for other families as unpaid domestic servants, or slaves. They are known as restavek children.

Children of Shadows follows the children as they go through their daily chores - the endless cycle of cooking, washing, sweeping, mopping, going to the market, or going to run errands. In heartbreaking interviews the children speak openly and shyly about the lives they are forced to lead. Their "aunts" (adoptive caretakers) speak openly and proudly of the vast mountain of work that "their" restavek does for them. The camera goes deep into the countryside to interview the peasant families as to what kind of situation would force them to give away one or more of their children.

Narrated entirely by the people themselves in their native Creole (English subtitles) and with original Haitian music laced throughout the film, this affecting documentary is the first film to be made on a subject which until recently has never been talked about.

Distributed by Filmmakers Library.

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