HAITI: Students ensured nutrition with rice-meals
Food shipments provide for shortfalls caused by political turmoil and rising prices.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (March 13, 2023) Youth at Don Bosco Lakay in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, have better nutrition thanks to donations of rice-meals from Rise Against Hunger, an international humanitarian organization growing a global movement to end hunger. The rice-meal donations, distributed in the second half of 2022, are made possible by an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, and Rise Against Hunger.
Don Bosco Lakay faced challenges when armed gangs paralyzed the country’s capital. As a result, there have been issues with sanitation and cholera from dirty water, as well as rising prices of food and other commodities.
Because of this, Don Bosco Lakay was unable to open its school for four months at the end of 2022. There is concern about the lasting impact this will have on youth who already missed schooling due to closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, Salesians provided extracurricular activities for youth in their care.
The rice-meals help provide for the shortfalls caused by the political turmoil and rising prices in the country. One of the recipients is Lélé Desclasses, age 16, who is currently a student in electrician courses.
Iguène Paulin, administrator of Don Bosco Lakay, explained, “When Lélé first came to our center, he was very small and underweight. However, even with his health issues, he was eager to be at our school as his family situation had not allowed him to have a consistent education. He is very smart and, with the help of a solid diet with nutrients, he has gained weight and strength. He is doing well in his education and shows a lot of promise.”
Desclasses’ family is among those who came to Cap-Haïtien to find work after leaving the rural areas of Haiti. Many who have done the same find poor housing conditions with few, if any, job prospects.
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.
The 11 main centers each include 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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