At that time there was extreme poverty and severe overcrowding on the island. Very few people lived in the French countryside, 9,000 kilometers away. This is how the idea of moving children arose in Paris. They had to get out of their “disadvantaged” environment; At the same time, the French countryside will receive a new impetus.
But parents in La Reunion often lied. For example, children would be allowed to return to their families once a year, which never happened.
“I put myself on a plane with three sisters,” says Annette. “Nothing was told, no explanation.” “I was nine years old at the time. To persuade my mother to give up her children, the French authorities gave her a chicken.”
hidden for decades
Annette, 65, calls it a kidnapping. “It was taken from my mother, taken from the island where I was born, and once in France it was also taken from my sisters. You can say a lot about her, but this is a kidnapping.”
Once in France, problems arose. There are testimonies of children who almost worked as slaves on the plantations. There are also stories of abuse and abuse. Oversight by the French authorities was insufficient.
The story of the children of La Reunion has been kept secret in France for decades. Often the children themselves were later told of their true identity and background. And much later, it also became clear that they were not alone, but more than 2,000 children were taken from Reunion.