Venezuela is suffering the harshest socio-economic crisis of its history. The people in this South American have been caught in a downward spiral of hyperinflation, power cuts, inadequate medical services, elimination of social programs, and shortages of almost all goods and services including food and medicine. Enormous political repression, corruption, street violence, human rights violations, and censorship have helped spur massive emigration.
Individuals who remain inside the country must cope with increasingly harsh living conditions and vastly reduced access to daily goods and services. Time magazine indicated the average Venezuelan lost 24 pounds in 2017 due to food insufficiency. Student attendance in schools has diminished drastically, as documented by the New York Times. Many students are eating only one meal a day, and often parents have their children sleep late to avoid having to feed them breakfast. For some students, the lunchtime meal provided by the school is their only meal. For younger students especially, malnutrition during early childhood irreversibly impairs cognitive development and significantly diminishes their academic performance. The New Humanitarian reports on the situation as of 23 April 2021.
Appreciating Venezuela’s crisis as a humanitarian emergency, we have decided to take action! Funds are being solicited to help provide nutritious lunch programs for all students attending three Lasallian schools in Venezuela which have been selected because they can obtain the food and provide the lunch program to low-income families from working-class areas.
This much-needed program will provide daily school lunches (from Monday to Friday) for 2,780 students. Because of the favorable exchange rate against the enormously devalued national currency, a donation of $5 USD will provide a week of lunches to five students. La Salle International has committed to fundraising for a trimester’s allocation of lunches to all students ($28,000 USD.) Won’t you help? Contribute here.