Lunch for the 10th graders
Providing opportunities for children to access a low cost nutritious lunch or snack while attending school is an on-going goal for the Colorado Haiti Project’s (CHP) overall support to St. Paul’s school in Petit Trou de Nippes. Recent shifts in government and NGO supported food aid, including halting support to school-based feeding programs, has led CHP to work together with the community to develop innovative solutions to ensure continued access to healthy school lunch and snacks for students at the school. This December, CHP supported St Paul’s to introduce a sustainable solution to increase the access of low cost hot and healthy food for all children through a locally-driven entrepreneurship program.
Until recently the World Food Program (WFP), supported a school-based feeding program for all the schools in the Petit Trou commune. As WFP pulled back from the school-based feeding programs, there was a concerted effort from the head of St. Paul’s school, Father Abiade Lozama, together with the community and other schools in the area, to develop a solution to fill this critical gap.
Initially, CHP offered resources to support a lunch program as a temporary stop gap measure. But Fr. Abiade felt that this was not ultimately a sustainable solution, and that targeted support for St. Paul’s could potentially torpedo the delicate collaboration with other local institutions. Therefore we brainstormed with Fr. Abiade and the community to produce a viable alternative solution.
Small business and entrepreneurship activities and training were introduced by CHP at St Paul’s in the fall of 2014. (See CHP’s autumn Global Giving report). The decision was made to integrate CHP’s entrepreneurship program activities with interested community members to launch a more sustainable model for the lunch program. Enter TiTi, (Jean Yolene). TiTi lives near the St. Paul campus, and already had an informal business set up outside the school selling snacks to the school children. With a loan, and some guidance from the entrepreneurship program at St. Paul’s, TiTi opened up food services in kitchen and now provides low cost and nutritious snacks and lunch for students. A nutritious lunch from TiTi costs between 20 cents and one U.S. dollar. For most children and teachers, this is something they can afford. But for those who have trouble paying, Fr. Abiade has set up a program that identifies children in need of support and sets a subsidized price. This way all children have access to this invaluable service.
The launch of this program has provided a sustainable solution for children to access supplemental nutrition critical in increased concentration and school performance. And additionally, it supports TiTi’s livelihood, and that of the two helpers she has already employed. The idea is that this spreads to the other schools in the area, and others from the community benefit from this entrepreneurial lunch model.
TiTi cooking lunch.
Four young girls of St Paul's at lunch
A student enjoying a peanut butter sandwich