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Madagascar: Better Nutrition for Youth and Families

In Madagascar -- where a heartbreaking 70 percent of the country’s 19 million people lives in extreme poverty -- an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children means that hundreds of hungry girls and boys, and their families, now have access to nutritious meals.

One such child is 12-year-old Noelson. Having dropped out of school to help care for his seriously ill mother Emilienne, and his 6-year-old sister Annie, Noelson lacked the resources to provide adequate food for the three of them.

“Because of their poverty, malnutrition had already been an issue for this family,” explains Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “And this is one of the reasons Emilienne became sick in the first place: unable to effectively fight infection, she contracted respiratory tuberculosis, which rapidly progressed in the absence of proper nourishment. It’s a heartbreaking cycle that is all too real in Madagascar.”

As he watched his mother’s health deteriorate, Noelson sought odd jobs on the streets. Yet, what little money he did earn still didn’t cover the cost of food.

Fortunately, Salesian missionaries at the Don Bosco House in Fianarantsoa learned of Noelson’s plight, and stepped in to help. Now he, Annie and Emilienne receive two fortified meals each day. As a result, Emilienne has regained her health and is able to work to support her family. And Noelson is back in school. No longer distracted by his hunger, or crushing responsibilities at home, he is well poised to succeed in the classroom.

At Our Lady of Clairvaux and the Rinaldi schools where Salesian missionaries operate, 130 students also benefit from these daily meals. Many of them are orphans, or from impoverished families who otherwise could not send them to school.

“Feeding programs are a necessity to meet the massive number of children around the world who go hungry every day,” says Fr. Mark. “Not only do the meals encourage families to send their sons and daughters to school, they also allow students to focus on their studies.”

For Noelson, Annie and so many other hungry boys and girls in Madagascar and around the world, one simple meal per day -- made possible by humanitarian organizations that donate the food, the Salesian missionaries who prepare and distribute it, and caring friends like you who help fund transportation costs -- is helping pave the path to a brighter, healthier future.

Haiti: “Hunger for Education” Feeds Thousands

Seven years after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, millions of residents continue to struggle with ongoing and severe food insecurity. More than half of the country’s population -- or 5.3 million people -- regularly go hungry. Worse, nearly 100,000 girls and boys under the age of 5 are so severely malnourished that they suffer from stunted growth, cognitive impairments and poor health.

Without meaningful intervention, Haiti’s ability to achieve a full recovery and successfully build a more prosperous future, remains in doubt.

This is why our Salesian missionaries, in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has recently implemented an innovative, comprehensive nutritional pilot program called “Hunger for Education.” Funded by a grant from USAID, and with support from international hunger relief organizations Breedlove and Rise Against Hunger … and generous support from good people like you, this 10-month program aims to increase the health and learning capacity of children attending school at one of six Salesian-run centers throughout the country: in Port-au-Prince, Fort-Liberté, Les Cayes, Gressier and Gonaïves.

Currently, 12,733 girls and boys now receive a daily hot meal in school. All meals are prepared in school-based kitchens by 15 local cooks, whose specialty training was also covered by the grant.

“In Haiti, our Salesian missionaries strive to reach the poorest students who would otherwise not have the opportunity to go to school,” says Jessica O’Connor, senior international development officer at Salesian Missions. “And we have already seen that the project has made a remarkable difference. According to their teachers, children who once struggled through class on empty stomachs are now able to focus and improve.”

News & Updates

Madagascar: Better Nutrition for Youth and Families

In Madagascar -- where a heartbreaking 70 percent of the country’s 19 million people lives in extreme poverty -- an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children means that hundreds of hungry girls and boys, and their families, now have access to nutritious meals.

Read More »

Haiti: “Hunger for Education” Feeds Thousands

Seven years after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, millions of residents continue to struggle with ongoing and severe food insecurity. More than half of the country’s population -- or 5.3 million people -- regularly go hungry. Worse, nearly 100,000 girls and boys under the age of 5 are so severely...

Read More »

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