When journalists Michael and Paul visited Haiti to cover the catastrophic earthquake which struck the seaside town of Léogâne in January 2010, they had no idea they would run into two-year old Alexis wandering the streets alone.
“When we found him, he was a lonely boy who had lost his parents and had been left to his fate,” the journalists write in a recent edition of Sweden’s biggest newspaper, Dagens Nyheter (“Today’s News” in English). “He was traumatised and severely malnourished.
“Nobody knew his name or where he came from, and most of the homeless people in the tent city called him C’est la Vie.”
Together with Unicef, Save the Children and the local police, the two journalists ensured that Alexis found a home in the SOS Children’s Village in Santo. It was here that he was given the name he is known by now, and over a series of visits, Michael and Paul reported on the little boy’s gradual recovery, telling the story of how he was saved and began to regain his life.
Three years on: a healthy childhood
Today, Alexis is just over four years old, although nobody knows his exact age, and the Swedish journalists still visit him whenever they can. When they arrive in the Village, they are greeted by a firm handshake from Alexis - though he quickly returns to the playground to get on with important work for the day.
Alexis’s story touched Michael and Paul so deeply that they decided to become his sponsors, making a lasting commitment to the boy whose life they had saved.
Three years on, Alexis’s biological parents are still missing. Nobody even knows where he was born. But he is happy and safe with his new family, and thanks to two journalists who found him by chance, the future looks bright.
According to Natasha Pericles, who has worked with Alexis at the Village in Santo, his transformation from an unhealthy, malnourished child to the happy, active little boy he is today has been extraordinary.
And if his preschool teacher Esther is to be believed, all the signs suggest that Alexis has developed into a typical four-year old. “When I ask him how he likes preschool, he answers that it is more fun to play. When I ask him what his favourite food is, he says he doesn’t understand the question because he likes to eat everything!”
When disaster struck Haiti three years ago, SOS Children was on hand to help. Emergency relief is an important part of our work, and we are currently running essential projects in the Sahel and Syria. Find out how you can help...