HAITI: At-risk and vulnerable individuals benefit from food shipment
Rice-meals also shared with schools to boost student improvement
(MissionNewswire) Students and vulnerable community members in Haiti received healthy nutrition thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, and Rise Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organization growing a global movement to end hunger. The shipment was received by the Salesian-run Rinaldi Foundation and then was distributed to The Immaculate Parish and Cité Soleil schools in Port-au-Prince.
The Immaculate Parish in Drouillard, one of the oldest housing projects in Cité Soleil, is located in a very fragile neighborhood where the presence of state authorities is totally absent. It is an area ruled by armed gangs that impose their law on the population and fight among themselves, which limits the Salesians’ ability to travel. Often community members leave their homes to take refuge in public squares or at a friend’s house.
Father Victor Auguste, economer of the Rinaldi Foundation said, “The greatest challenge during this period was the insecurity around the country caused by the gang activity, especially in Port-au-Prince. Much of Haiti was shut down, making it difficult for people to move around safely. Parents were unable to bring their children to school or to participate in other activities, so this time we also distributed food to older women living in the community since they were in need and we were able to reach them.”
One of the recipients was Olguine Almonord, who struggles to feed herself and her children. Most of the time she has to rely on the charity of her family and friends for food. When they do not have anything to share, she and her family go without. To her, the meals from Rise Against Hunger created a sense of security knowing they would have at least one meal a day.
Almonord said, “Before receiving meals from Rise Against Hunger, we usually only ate if our neighbors or relatives shared their food, and very often we went the whole day without eating anything. Now my whole family eats each meal, even if it is not always enough. Rise Against Hunger meals have vitamins, which also helps my children’s growth.”
The rice-meals were also shared with schools. In Haiti, many children do not have access to a school lunch service, which has a direct impact on their education and academic success. The Salesian community makes every effort to provide students with varied, balanced and daily meals.
Carius Dumé, director at the Rinaldi Foundation, said, “School feeding also represents an important opportunity for some parents who are still in precarious situations. For many, ensuring a healthy, balanced and regular diet for their children is a daily struggle. In the country, two out of three students rarely eat at home in the morning before going to school.”
Dumé added, “Thanks to the hot meals distributed, students have better attendance rates at the primary school and vocational training center. The effects of the regular meals can be seen in their schoolwork. I know that the regular meals have helped strengthen their resilience against harmful shocks. With support from Rise Against Hunger, we have seen improvements in our schools.”
Salesian missionaries began working in Haiti in 1935 in response to the Haitian government’s request for a professional school. Since then, Salesian missionaries have expanded their work to include 11 main educational centers and more than 200 schools across the country.
Each of the main centers includes a number of primary and secondary schools, vocational training centers, and other programs for street children and youth in need. Salesian programs are located throughout Haiti, including in the cities of Port-au-Prince, Fort-Liberté, Cap-Haïtien, Les Cayes and Gressier. Today, Salesian missionaries in Haiti provide the largest source of education outside of the Haitian government with schools providing education to 25,500 primary and secondary school students.
Photo courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)
Salesian Missions – Haiti