May 27, 2011
The UN has estimated that 3 million people in Haiti could be affected by food insecurity during the coming months. They won’t have enough to eat. High prices, flooding and cholera are three of the culprits. The price of basic foodstuffs has been on the rise in Haiti and the trend is expected to continue throughout 2011. In November 2010, hurricane Tomas caused flooding which damaged crops and decreased harvest. Rural areas are still under threat from the cholera epidemic as new pockets of cholera have been reported in remote areas.
One way to help protect families from food insecurity is to provide meals for children at school. Beginning in September 2011, PWRDF will be part of a program to provide free lunches to 3,250 students, ensuring they will receive at least one good meal per day. Each student will receive a daily meal of a rice and bean soup known as “sauce pois”, the most common way of preparing beans in Haiti. Cooking oil and salt are also provided to schools. It will cost about $50 per student for the school year to provide these meals.
Free meals act as an incentive to parents to enroll their children in school. Low enrollment is a serious problem in Haiti. Before the January 2010 earthquake, the official enrollment rate was under 50 per cent. Since the earthquake, the rate has dropped even lower. Schools were destroyed throughout the area, particularly in the Communes of Gressier and Léogâne where the damage was greatest. In these impoverished areas families are struggling to rebuild their homes, leaving children even more vulnerable.
During consultations, leaders of the Episcopal Church Bureau Anglican d’Education en Haiti (BAEH), responsible for a network of 250 schools across the country, raised school feeding as an important issue related to school enrollment and attendance. BAEH, PWRDF, and Finn Church Aid have come together to provide this program.
PWRDF supporters in the Diocese of Montreal have started a campaign to raise funds for the school food program in Haiti. The Grangou pour Aprann: Appetite for Learning campaign will work with Solid’Haïti Montréal and other Montreal organizations to raise money for this important program.