Child Hunger in Rural Haiti

Saving Lives with a Daily Hot Meal

More than 85% of those living in rural Haiti do not get the minimum daily ration of food as defined by the World Health Organization. As a result, malnutrition is responsible for approximately 60% of all deaths in Haitians under the age of 18. According to UNICEF, children living in the Haitian countryside are seven times more likely to be malnourished than those living in Port au Price or other cities.

Pot of beans and rice prepared at Wesleyan School in Chaumeil

Shortly after helping the village open the elementary school in Larevwa (Ecole Mixte Evangelique de Larevoir, EMEL) Love the Children was able to help begin a lunch program for the children. Mothers and grandmothers show up early each morning to prepare a hot meal over open wood fires. Beans, rice, corn and other vegetables, occasionally supplemented with chicken, goat meat or fish have been supplied by generous donations of our North American friends. Junior Destin, our In-country Director, has since applied the education and training that he has gained by attending classes at ECHO and has planted a gardens in the village of Larevwa and adjoining villages to supply the schools in the area, including EMEL, with fresh vegetables. He is growing Chaya, eggplant, papaya and other vegetables to add important nutrients to the meals. Chaya, in particular, has been very beneficial in that it contains not only essential vitamins and mineral but is a good source of vegetable protein. The lunch program has made a marked difference in the nutritional health of the students. We have seen the physical signs of malnutrition disappear in the children. We no longer see the bloated bellies, the chalky skin, patchy red hair and empty eyes that are associated with hunger. Our students are now better able to concentrate on their school work. Small villages, just like Larevwa, are scattered all over the countryside of Haiti. Most of these villages are similar to Larevwa before the school’s hot lunch program. Many of the children we see in these villages show similar signs of malnutrition and dehydration. I am reminded of the words in I John 3:17 “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion--how can God's love be in that person?” We know how to fix this problem. Our experience has shown us how easy it is to change the lives of these children for the better. With the generous help of our friends at Calhoun Presbyterian Church in Calhoun, Georgia and Moorings Presbyterian Church in Naples, Love the Children is working in the neighboring areas around Larevwa to help solve the child hunger problem. Junior Destin is working with the Episcopal School and the Wesleyan School in the village of Chaumeil to help them plant gardens filled with Chaya and other vegetables for school lunches. We are also helping the Wesleyan school purchase beans, rice and other necessary food for their lunch program. We know that when we help these children have a hot meal each day they will do better with their school work. They will no longer miss school because they are too hungry or sick. We know that their growth will no longer be stunted. UNICEF tells us that approximately 44 children die hourly in Haiti because of malnutrition. We know that this hot school lunch program is saving lives.

Nutrition is not only essential for good health but enables the children to learn in school. Good nutrition is saving lives in this area of Haiti and making life better for those living here. You can help save lives by giving below.