Life at times has a way of making you realize that all the little things that we take for granted are true blessings.

Can you imagine yourself as a child… leaving your parents behind in the countryside? Why? Because wanting the best for you, they decide to send you away to the city in hopes that you get a quality education, have more opportunities, and a brighter future. But when you finally arrive to the destination the reality is a stark contrast.

Imagine…

You are forced to get up at the crack of dawn and walk for hours ferrying in heavy loads of water for your “new family”. Then escort the children of your “new family” to school, you being the one to carry their books. Once at the school they go inside and you hurry back home to complete the back breaking work awaiting you there. The chores are daunting but you have to hurry so that you can finish them in time to make the trek back to pick up your “new siblings” when the school lets out. You are never able fill your belly. A thin mat on the cold floor is your bed. Not to mention one too many times you are physically and sexually abused.

This is the reality for thousands of children in Haiti who are trapped in a modern day slave system called Restavek. I became aware of this serious matter back in 2012 by watching a TV documentary and I felt compelled to shared it with Mike while he was visiting me in France. We were both moved and overwhelmed. We could not just know about this issue and moved on.. we needed to do something, we needed to be involved! So we decided to call one of the Restavek Freedom Foundation (RFF) who is very involved over there in rescuing the children, giving them a place to live, food, shelter but also a sense of belonging to this world and giving the opportunity to dream again!

We wanted to get involved!

After discussing with the President of RFF we came up with the idea of using what we knew best and we decided to launch a new collection of bags and accessories to push awareness on this issue tell the story and help in giving back a pourcentage of the proceeds. Libre was born!

Libre (which means “free” in both French and Spanish) is a new collection of bags and accessories which is directly inspired by the fight for freedom with every single point of detail selected and chosen to best communicate Libre or liberation.

The Term “Resilience” comes to our mind when we think about the story behind the Libre Collection. Resilience because on one hand the children are a true inspiration, they have endured hardships and heart ache and many of us will never know and despite that they still have hopes and dreams. Many of them that are able to break out from the system dedicate their lives to reaching back and helping others.

Mike  in Haiti revealing to Katia( a former Restavek) her artwork in the lining of the Legionnaire bag.

Mike Wogu in his recent TEDx talk shared with us the struggle of following a project through to completion how failing has helped make him stronger. He also talks about his motivation to present this amazing collection to the public again.

The message that we have gleaned from this amazing collection is no matter how bleak the odds keep pushing, don’t stop, there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is a cause that we wholeheartedly support.

Mike & Sevie visiting a Summer School program set up by the RFF Foundation

Become a Freedom Fighter!

Now we are happy to share that Libre by MBARQGO has been successfully funded on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo. But you can keep supporting the campaign by purchasing the inspiring pieces and by spreading the word around you. Check out the website here.

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