Feeding three thousand children per day, five days a week, is no easy task in a country where nearly half of the population is starving due to the food crisis. According to a UN-supported report, almost 50% of Haiti’s 4.9 million people “are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity.” Try to imagine it if you can. Millions of people going hungry, day after day. This is so much more than a number, this is little children who don’t even have the energy to throw a ball. Pregnant moms, who fear their babies will be stillborn or suffer mental and physical disabilities due to poor nutrition. Students who can’t focus on school. And a whole nation of people who lack the strength, energy, nutrition, and immunity to live healthy, productive lives.
It is only due to the generosity of our donors that LiveBeyond can rise to the challenge and give kids and others in Haiti’s Thomazeau community a fighting chance at being physically and mentally healthy. But there are others – children who are not receiving the limited number of meals LiveBeyond can provide, pregnant moms who are not receiving prenatal care and proper nutrition, adults who cannot support their families because hunger has caused weakness, illness, and even death. Why is this happening?
“One of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti remains susceptible to natural disasters. Additionally, political instability, irregular rainfall, and worsening economic conditions have resulted in food insecurity outcomes across Haiti, according to USaid.gov.
And then there’s the violence, which prevents people from having access to food because it’s too dangerous to leave their homes. In April of this year, just April, more than 600 people were killed in violence in the country’s capital, according to information gathered by the UN Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). This follows the killing of at least 846 people in the first three months of 2023. Political unrest has resulted in a devastating food crisis that is negatively impacting the entire country.
Poverty and the lack of basic services are among the root causes of gang-related violence in Haiti. “The Government, with support from the international community, must do its utmost to comply with its obligation to provide people with regular and unimpeded access to clean water, food, health and shelter,” said Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He added that a “robust response” is needed to what he billed as a “human rights emergency.”
School is challenging enough for kids living in nutritionally stable homes, but for those suffering from malnutrition, it’s nearly impossible. According to Dr. Cindy Gellner, who was interviewed by the University of Utah’s Healthy KidZone podcast, “children who have food insecurity in early childhood are less likely to be ready to start kindergarten, compared to kids where there is plenty of healthy food in the home.” She also explained many children experiencing poor nutrition suffer from iron deficiency anemia. “And that has long lasting effects and can even lead to impaired memory and social functioning more than 10 years later according to researchers.”
Thank you, LiveBeyond family, for supporting the Nutrition Program and LiveBeyond Farm, which provide the LiveBeyond School, Johnny’s Kids, the Maternal Health Program, and local farmers with nutritional support and education.
Let’s start with the LiveBeyond Farm, a tangible blessing that transformed rocky, barren earth into a sustainable farm producing a wealth of fruits and vegetables, including banana and papaya trees, carrots, corn, beetroot, eggplant, spinach, chilies, shallot, and beans. With support from our donors and the hard work of farmers in Thomazeau, that once-barren land now produces enough food to provide more than 7,000 weekly meals. Additionally, the LiveBeyond Farm teaches sustainable farming practices and techniques to local farmers, who use that knowledge to improve their own farms and increase their yields. Good food, good nutrition, and good health translate into a community that has the chance to thrive, instead of barely survive.
Another integral part of feeding the Thomazeau community is the Nutrition Program, in which LiveBeyond partners with Convoy of Hope. While Convoy of Hope provides 15 thousand meals a week to the LiveBeyond School’s students and staff, LiveBeyond, through the generosity of our donors, funds the $8,500 per shipping container every six weeks, for a total of $68,000 per year.
Again, these numbers are far more than numbers, they represent a monumental impact on the lives of men, women, and children. Food translates into nutrition, health, and education which are three critical pieces to addressing the food crisis. Healthy babies. Employment. HOPE.
YOU did that for the people of Thomazeau, and we are asking you to continue, so we can expand our reach and provide meals to those who are still going hungry. Together, we can break the cycle of hunger and poverty and help Haitian communities to be healthy and self-sustaining. Please join us in ending malnutrition in Haiti by donating here.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ – Mathew 25:32
Hear the latest news from Haiti, read posts about faith and community development, and find transcriptions from the LiveBeyond podcast.