Here at Rise Against Hunger, we love seeing and hearing stories of girl power! Today is International Day of the Girl, which addresses the challenges girls face and calls attention to their empowerment. This year’s theme, set by the United Nations, is GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable.
Stephanie, a 17-year-old girl living in a rural community in Tremesse, Haiti, is unstoppable. In her town, located near Grison Garde, many children come from families that have received little or no education and suffer from food scarcity. Although there are some work opportunities for farmers, there are very few other jobs available for people in the area.
Stephanie lives with her grandmother and her younger sister. Despite the death of her father and her mother living in a different country, she attends St. Marc School and is a motivated, excellent student in her 10th grade class. At school, she receives Rise Against Hunger meals, distributed by partner Hands for Haiti. Since receiving the meals, she feels a lot healthier and can focus better in school.
Stephanie is also involved in extracurriculars at school, including singing in her school’s choir. Esau Aldor, religion teacher and choir director, has been at St. Marc for a couple of years. He sees that Stephanie is very motivated to learn and enjoys being on the choir. “The meals have made such an impact to the whole community,” Esau said. He said he hopes that his own children will grow up to be as bright as Stephanie.
Leon Sejour, also known as Father Leon, is the school administrator. With over 13 years of experience in education, he knows how critical school lunches are for educating all the children. “St. Marc School is more than a place where children receive an education. St. Marc has become the community center that provides education up through 10th grade, food for the local children and staff, a place of employment with a staff of 55, and most importantly, with a focus on faith and values,” he said.
The United Nations shares, “Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life…If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world.” Stephanie’s education is very important to her, both for the present and for her future. She continues to study hard and excel in class, working toward her dream of becoming a medical doctor one day. We have no doubt she will change the world!