Michonda became a mother at the age of 13 after being brutally raped. While the rapist managed to escape justice, Michonda was forced to abandon school and look for a job to care for her boy. She works as a servant away from her child, who lives with her mother in a different town. She hopes to have her son next to her one day, and be able to return to school. (Agnieszka Napierala, 2013)
Some time ago I started meeting women, young girls and older women, who became mothers much too early. I wanted to listen to their life stories and look into their eyes, which often say more than words.
These women are one of the reasons I came to Haiti and joined the mission. Being aware of the daily struggles of Haitians is very important and motivational for my work.
I would like their stories to be heard and their faces to be seen by others as well, which is why I started the ‘My dream’ project. The objective is to portray teen mothers in their living and working environments, collect their testimonies and show the consequences of early pregnancy.
I also ask women about their dreams. These are usually very ‘ordinary’: return to school, have the family together, find a job, ensure a better future for their kids, stop being abused, be happy…
I truly believe that we should, and can, strive to make these ‘ordinary’ dreams come true.
Bio: Agnieszka Napierala has been based in Miragoâne (Haiti) since June 2012 as a UN Volunteer Electoral Coordinator. She graduated from the Poznan University of Economics and the Paris Institute of Political Science. For a few years she worked in marketing and then in development and management programmes with the European Commission. Up until June 2012 she worked as a UN Volunteer Election Advisor for the Peacekeeping Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI). As a long-time human rights activist, she always tries to integrate civil society, to support it and to share experiences, and is most interested in social photography.