At present, there are up to 25 children and adolescents living at Messef, from toddlers to young adults. Recently the number has fallen due to government efforts to return children to living relatives. Not all are orphans; some have been abandoned and some have arrived since the earthquake, but all have the same need for love, security, food and shelter.
Many children have never lived with their natural family. At Messef, they are able to develop bonds with their peers, carers and teachers.
Haitian culture is very communal and children learn to help with household chores and care for younger ones from a very early age.
At Messef, they produce their own fruit, vegetables and eggs and the children are encouraged to become involved in this.
Messef is a large family and a self-contained community.
Everyday activities take place within the grounds, with little need or opportunity to go into the city of Ouanaminthe.