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Haiti - Food support for many students, thanks to aid from “Salesian Missions"
(ANS – Pétion-Ville) – Students attending the Salesian “Timkatec” schools in Pétion-Ville, Haiti, have had access to improved nutrition thanks to a collaboration between “Salesian Missions,” the Salesian Mission Office based in New Rochelle, U.S., and “Rise Against Hunger,” an international humanitarian organization that provides food and life-changing aid to those most in need.
During the second half of 2022, rice meals were distributed in the canteens of the three “Timkatec” schools, which students were able to take home even during school closures. After the summer break, in fact, the school was supposed to reopen in October, but the political crisis in the country, growing insecurity, and the resulting unrest led to a closure of all schools. The Salesians did not resume the school year until Nov. 28, when the situation had become more secure.
Guylaine Bastien studied nursing and graduated from Timkatec School. Now that she is a nurse at the school itself, she said. “As a nurse, I’m in charge of monitoring the health of the children at Timkatec. They really enjoyed the Rise Against Hunger meals. I have noticed a significant change in them, they now have more strength and energy and get sick less easily.”
The first “Timkatec” school was established in 1994 to provide education to former street children. It was later expanded to include local disadvantaged children who had not had the opportunity to attend school until they were 8-10 years old. Vocational schools were added later to enable young people to learn a trade.
The same rice meal distribution project is also being carried out at “Don Bosco Lakay” in Cap-Haïtien. Here, too, thanks to the proven partnership between “Salesian Missions” and “Rise Against Hunger,” students have access to better and more nutritious food.
“Don Bosco Lakay” has faced many challenges due to the instability that has paralyzed the country’s capital. Sanitation problems have occurred and, due to contaminated water, cholera has spread. In addition, prices of food and other commodities have risen. For all these reasons, the “Don Bosco Lakay” has been closed for a long time. There is concern about the lasting impact this will have on young people, who have already missed months and months of school due to the closures imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rice meals are therefore helping to make up for the shortages caused by the political turmoil and rising prices in the country. Many young people, such as Lélé Desclasses, who is studying at the Salesian institute to become an electrician, thanks to this new, solid and nutritious diet, can regain their strength, gain weight, and return to their studies with greater concentration.
The Salesians began working in Haiti in 1935 in response to the Haitian government’s request to establish a vocational school. Since then, they have expanded their work to include 11 main educational centers and over 200 schools across the country.