Hot Meals at Cima School of Hope
It has typically cost about $1/day to feed the school children healthy, hot meals every day…and for most, it is likely the most significant amount of protein and balanced nutrients that they will receive that day. We are always trying to negotiate with local farmers to try to purchase their grains…and to see if they can deliver them. The cost of food in Haiti, even with subsidies, is very high and any added transportation costs escalate the cost even more. We have worked with several organizations in the past who have helped to supply nutritionally-rich, and fortified pre-packaged grain, but their supplies have continued to dwindle and it has been increasingly difficult to locate willing donors.
It is our goal, to plant a community garden within the Cima School of Hope, as well as include regular chicken and goat distribution programs within the community. We will begin the garden as soon as the construction of the school is complete, and we have begun chicken and goat distributions as funds are available. We have poultry sources within Haiti, as well as plenty of fruit, nut and shade/timber tree seedlings ready for transplantation out of our Acul du Nord Nursery when the building is complete. We are “on the brink” of being able to help the Cima/Génivré communities fulfill some dreams…they long to enable their youngest generation to become healthier, better educated and more economically stable than previous generations. Our active search for partners in the fulfillment of those dreams continues!
Faith Church of God – Cap-Haitien
Sonje Ayiti has developed a partnership of support for Faith Church of God, under the excellent and passionate guidance of Pastor Bruno Cherenfant. This Cap-Haitien congregation has not only grown under his leadership, but the outreach to the school has made a huge difference in the lives of those families. We support them through various individual gifts towards school tuition, and most significantly in support of their student “hot lunch” program. Like our nutritional support for Cima/Génivré School, we have tried to help them secure donations and low-cost, nutritional food supplies for their student population. At present we are seeking additional partners to help in their support.
School / Community Gardens
We are all about helping Haitians to help Haitians, one person, one community at a time. Sonje Ayiti has set up several community gardens in the Grande Riviere du Nord and Bahon areas over the course of this past year with great success and appreciation from the residents who now have a more balanced and sustainable diet. Our staff taught them how to mix their composted soil packs, where to set them out, start their seeds, plant, water, nurture their seedlings and save / dry seeds for the next crop. Along with chicken and goat distribution programs, our community garden program will enable many previously malnourished rural residents in northern Haiti to have a ready resource for the vital and nutritious food that they need to thrive…through the combined efforts of SAO, their own hands, and God’s great gifts of water, soil and sunshine. These community plots were set up originally to help provide a necessary increase in healthy food availability for pregnant women, and mothers / children < 2 years old. The program has been so successful that other communities would like SAO’s help in setting their own plots to better supply a sustainable source of essential nutrients for their many malnourished residents, and especially to help their children receive an diet in their vitally important, growing years.
We have plans to initiate a similar garden program at our Cima/Génivré School location as an essential part of their diet supplementation but also as an “agricultural education” exercise so that each student will know better how to feed themselves and their families in the future. This “hands on” experience is one that will bring great benefits to not only the school’s ability to help become even more self-sufficient and proactive in providing adequate nutrition to the meager diets of their students population, but also as a working model to help the students and community to carefully plan and nurture their natural resources so that they can better prepare for a prosperous future.
Our newly developed Acul-du-Nord SAO Nursery has over 40,000 healthy and growing fruit and nut tree seedlings ready and waiting for transplanting. Our young and very competent staff has worked hard to provide this great resource to be used to help northern Haiti help herself towards a greener and healthier ecology. We have recently begun a soil enrichment program utilizing vermiposting, soil that has been significantly enriched through the natural decomposing techniques of specialized earthworms, and the nutrient rich soil has proven to be a great asset towards increasing the yield of plantings. Currently we are seeking new partners to help increase our productivity in this program in our efforts to provide healthier and more sustainable communities.
Chicken & Goat Distribution
Through an exciting partnership between St. Bartholomew Church in Columbus, Indiana and the rural / mountain residents of Cima and Bahon in northern Haiti, chickens and goats have made a life-sustaining difference! With their generous donations, we have been able to provide and distribute over 300 chickens to more than 100 eligible families in Cima. While many were able to receive an immediate, healthy and nutritious meal, most kept the birds as laying hens providing regular/valuable protein for their growth needs, and many were hoping to expand their flock as well threw a combined laying / hatching program. The kind and generous work of the parishoners of St. Bartholomew Church has made such a vision possible!
Sonje Ayiti is currently trying to establish other such partnerships between local Schools and communities in the US, Canada and France to continue this simple but vitally important connection…with healthy benefits! Children naturally are drawn to the plight of other children, and they are always delighted to know that they can help, in very significant ways. Please consider joining in this “Flying Chickens!” support program…every small effort has the potential to help save and increase the potential for healthy lives of Haitian children.