HAITI: Salesian students receive better nutrition thanks to partnership with Rise Against Hunger
3 centers receive shipment of donated rice-meals to ensure students have a healthy meal during the school day.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Dec. 20, 2021) Students attending Fondation Vincent and Don Bosco Lakay in Cap-Haïtien and Don Bosco Lakay/Lakou in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, had better 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 relief organization that provides food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable. In 2020, each center received a shipment of donated rice-meals to ensure students had a healthy meal during the school day.
Fondation Vincent provides education in six specialized workshops and has a working farm. Students in the agricultural program study modern practices and technology, and they explore new techniques in agriculture, horticulture, and animal husbandry. The farm allows students to bring what they learn in the classroom into hands-on practice where they grow bananas, peppers and cabbage. There are also rabbits, goats, cows, chickens, pigs, ducks and geese.
Jamesly Jean-Louis, age 22, is studying in the agriculture program at Fondation Vincent. When he completes his three years of study, Jean-Louis would like to create an agricultural farm with a chicken coop to provide access to certain foods that are otherwise rare in the region. Rise Against Hunger meals help Jean-Louis focus on his studies.
He said, “By eating a hot dish, I have strength to work for a whole day. It also encourages all students to work better.” Before Rise Against Hunger meals, Jean-Louis found it difficult to find something to eat, especially in the morning before going to the workshops. With the meals, he no longer goes to his training feeling weak.
The rice-meal donation was also sent to Don Bosco Lakay/Lakou. Each of Don Bosco Lakay/Lakou’s five facilities specializes in a stage of life and type of assistance needed by the youth served. At Foyer Lakay, children live as a family for a period of four years until the completion of their apprenticeship in a technical profession. Lakay Program for Street Children provides shelter and educational services for street children in Cap-Haïtien and Port-au-Prince. There are also vocational training programs where youth are able to study and gain the skills needed for long-term employment.
Daniel, age 15, is in the Don Bosco Lakay program. He was born to a teenage mother who was living on the streets in Cité Soleil. Daniel survived his early years thanks to neighbors. When he was 8 eight years old, he left his family and lived on his own on the streets for the next five years. To survive, he became a lookout for an armed gang. However, one day Daniel did not see a police car passing by, and it led to a shootout between the gang and the police. Daniel was forced to flee and go into hiding.
Before receiving Rise Against Hunger meals, Daniel struggled to find food while living on the streets. He often ate leftovers from restaurants or food out of the garbage, and many times he resorted to stealing food. Days would go by where he didn’t have anything to eat at all.
Now that Daniel receives food support, he is much happier and very grateful for those who have helped him. He’s made a lot of friends and is well respected. When he gets older, he would like to be a cabinetmaker.
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.
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