A Life Changed:
Deborah sat quietly backstage, a slight smile never left her face as she patiently waited for her cue. Chante Pou Libète (Songs of Freedom) was one of the largest singing competitions in Haiti, and she was chosen as a finalist. Thousands of people were outside cheering as other contestants sang songs they had written about child slavery in Haiti. The event was put on by The Restavek Freedom Foundation in order to raise awareness to end child slavery known as “restavek” in Haiti. As Deborah entered the stage, a wave of nerves swept over her, but then she remembered why she was there. It was not only about the competition, she was singing for something other than herself… she was singing for the children.
Deborah St. Fort is a former sponsored child of BHM’s Child Sponsorship Program. As a young child, she began attending Fermathe School just a stone’s throw from BHM’s campus. At nine years old, she was given a violin by Mary Todd, a missionary with BHM at the time. Classical instruments are rare in Haiti, and Deborah knew that this was a special gift. She treasured her violin and dedicated herself to learning how to play through whatever means she could find. For a time she was able to take lessons from another violinist, but after a while had to resort to teaching herself.
One of Deborah’s fondest memories of her school days was when she, the only violinist at school, was asked to play for a school devotional service. Since then, Deborah’s music career has blossomed. Along with being a competitor at this year’s Songs of Freedom contest, a prestigious competition that has been heralded as “Haitian Idol” by NPR and CNN, Deborah has also won several other musical awards.
Despite her accomplishments, Deborah maintains a humble outlook regarding her talents: “Jesus is my everything. He has helped me throughout my life, and all of my accomplishments are because of Him.”
She is now studying Social Work at UNICA in order to become a children’s counselor, and she also dreams of someday opening a music school. She has already begun teaching a handful of children how to play the violin. She is grateful for her education through BHM’s Child Sponsorship Program because she has seen how God has used it to prepare her for success and to continue in higher education.
Deborah’s story is just one of many. There are thousands of sponsored children, and each of their stories are unique. By sponsoring a child, you help provide hope and a future for these children. Please, consider sponsoring a child through the Child Sponsorship Program.