Haiti: Students provided nutrition through rice meals – Haiti

Food shipments are filling shortages caused by political unrest and price hikes

(MissionNewswire) Young people at Don Bosco Lakay in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, are enjoying better nutrition thanks to donations of rice meals from Rise Against Hunger, an international relief organization providing life-changing food and aid to the world’s most vulnerable people. The rice meal donations, distributed in the second half of 2022, are made possible by an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions, the American development arm of Salesians of Don Bosco, and Rise Against Hunger.

Don Bosco Lacay faced challenges when armed gangs paralyzed the nation’s capital. As a result, there were problems with sanitation and cholera from the dirty water, as well as soaring prices for food and other goods.

Because of this, Don Bosco Lakay was unable to open his school for four months at the end of 2022. There is concern about the lasting impact it will have on young people who have already missed school due to the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, the Salesians provided extracurricular activities for the young people in their care.

The rice meals help fill the shortage caused by the political turmoil and high prices in the country. One of the beneficiaries is 16-year-old Lélé Desclasses, who is currently a student in electrical courses.

Don Bosco Lakay Principal Eugene Paulin explained, “When Lélé first came to our center, he was very small and thin. However, even with his health problems, he was eager to be in our school because his family situation did not allow him to have a steady education. Very intelligent, and with the help of a robust diet with nutrients, he has gained weight and strength. He is doing very well in his education and shows much hope.”

The Desclas family is among those who came to Cap-Haitien to find work after leaving rural Haiti. Many who did the same find poor housing conditions with few, if any, job opportunities.

Salesian missionaries began working in Haiti in 1935 in response to a Haitian government request to establish a vocational school. Since then, the Salesian missionaries have extended their work to 11 major learning centers and more than 200 schools across the country.

Each of the 11 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 the cities of Port-au-Prince, Fort-Liberté, Cap-Haïtien, Les Cayes, and Gressier. Today, the Salesian Missionaries in Haiti provide the largest source of education outside of the Haitian government through schools providing education to 25,500 primary and secondary school students.