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A hot meal per day to attract children to school

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Haiti: a hot meal per day to attract children to school

BALAN (Haiti), November 18, 2009 (AFP) - In the two rooms of the small public school Balan stick together a little over 250 students who receive daily a dish of food provided by WFP

(WFP) in Haiti. This is often their only food for the day.

Following the example of kids in this village 30 km east of Port-au-Prince, more than half a million young people receive a daily meal at school in the country where famine n ' is never far away.

"For a year that the canteen was introduced, the workforce has grown," says school director, Savior Christmas.

"We're in November and we still receive many requests for registration. People know that last year we give food to children. ...", Then says he.

Mr. Noel, 66, says he himself had attended this school, "long ago". "Today, I should be retired, but I came back to serve my community, and accompany children in my village," he admits.

A year ago, he appealed to WFP to assist in its establishment, forgotten by the State and abandoned by the community.

"When we arrived here, we all immediately knew it was important to help the school, but we required a minimum of hygiene. A toilet and a small kitchen have been built," says Nancy Exiles A WFP official in Haiti.

"Since we have allowed the school curriculum, activities were resumed and children have become more efficient," said she.

In a thousand public schools and religious country, the program provides food rations to smaller Haitians living in the areas of greatest food insecurity.

When the meal is ready, it is used in classrooms. Children eat with relish their ration of rice and beans, doused with a sauce of sardines.

In court, the parents expect to receive their portion. "I assure you that this is where we eat too, WFP is our god Balan," said a woman whose two children are in school. This is the case with many locals living in the canteen. "We must put a fence and let the children eat in peace," said another.

In the 1,400 schools where WFP operates, food stocks could run out within weeks, leaving 530,000 children without meals in primary schools in Haiti, the organization warns that seeks 13 million dollars to continue this program .

"If the program stopped, it would be catastrophic," commented teachers and parents. After the meal at midday, the kids from school Balan go back to work.

The cacophony prevails in the two rooms where live six classes

different repeat certain arithmetical formulas, others learn phrases literature drawn on an old table. Smaller sing.

Source: HPN

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