On a hillside above Cap-Haitien, Haiti, life is very different than for those living in the urbanized city just a short distance below. Bruceline, a 6th grader, lives in that small hillside community, where mudslides loom and the local economy teeters on the edge of instability. Most of Bruceline’s neighbors live in makeshift homes and work as street vendors or run small grocery stores.
For children like Bruceline, Rise Against Hunger meals can mean the difference between dropping out of school and excelling. Bruceline dreams of becoming a nurse, with the goal of helping her family and country. With the help of the meals provided by our partner, the College John Wesley school, she is better able to do her homework and study — particularly in her favorite subjects, French and social studies.
Bruceline shares that since she began school, she has enjoyed eating lunch each day between classes with her best friends. Often, her mother doesn’t have enough money to cook at home.
Rose, a member of the school’s parents’ committee, and head cook at College John Wesley, shares her story of becoming the main preparer of the Rise Against Hunger meals at the school:
“The principal one day had a meeting with several women who have their children at the school and he told us that they received meals from an organization to feed the students. The problem was, they didn’t have money to hire cooks and they needed some parents to volunteer to cook for the children. I said to myself, ‘Since my children will benefit from the meals, why not volunteer?’ I am not working, so cooking for the students allows both my children and me to eat daily.”
Since the Rise Against Hunger meals have been served, I can see joy in the hearts of the students.
Jean Fritz, principal at College John Wesley (also called Jeanjean by the students), shares her gratitude for the school’s ability to provide an education for children in the community, even those whose parents are unable to pay the tuition. Jean explains that prior to the Rise Against Hunger meals, only 80-100 students attended the school, but with the provision of food, the number of students has climbed to over 300. The impact of the Rise Against Hunger meals are easy to see, and the students’ ability to learn has improved and kids are passing classes more frequently.
Jean shares an anecdote from a student who, due to finances, is now attending a public school nearby, but still visits College John Wesley during lunchtime to receive a meal.
She shares, “They told me ‘Teacher Jeanjean, we are obliged to go somewhere else but we are still your students. You don’t know what it means to us when you give us that meal.’
My heart was touched, and I know what it means for a student to go to school hungry and attend school thinking about what will you eat when you get home. Thank you to everyone who contributes their money, their time and any other means to make us able to feed our students.”
If you’re interested in changing the lives of children like Bruceline, we encourage you to donate today to give the gift of a meal and an education!