Venezuela: Humanitarian Support Targets 2,780 Students for Hunger Relief Program.
Before entering their schools, many of Venezuela’s students check to see if lunch is provided. If not, the students must roam the streets in search of food.
The numbers paint a grim reality. Ninety-one percent of Venezuela’s people are living in poverty. Nine out of ten Venezuelans go to bed hungry, and 62 percent of Venezuelan children are at risk of nutritional deficit. There are shortages of almost every basic medication, previously eradicated diseases are back with a vengeance, and there has been a rise in preventable deaths given the collapse of medical infrastructure.
It is unlikely Venezuela’s downward spiral will end anytime soon. The people of this South American country are firmly entrenched in out-of-control economic hyperinflation, electricity outages, inadequate medical services, and the elimination of social programs. Shortages of almost all goods and services including food and medicine have fueled crime and violence. Enormous political repression, corruption, street violence, human rights violations, and censorship have traveled almost 6 million emigres to other countries. Venezuela now holds the ignominious distinction of being the “worst humanitarian crisis” this hemisphere has ever witnessed.
Understandably, student attendance in Venezuelan schools has diminished drastically. It’s hard to study when you are hungry. Many students are eating only one meal a day, and parents often have their children sleep late to avoid feeding them breakfast. For students, the school’s lunchtime meal is their only nutrition for the day. This is especially problematic for younger students: malnutrition during early childhood irreversibly impairs cognitive development and significantly diminishes their learning capabilities.
In response to this humanitarian emergency, we are taking action! Funds are being solicited to help provide lunch programs for all students attending three Lasallian schools in Venezuela: La Salle Baloche, La Salle los Taladros, and La Salle Hermano Juan. These schools have been selected because they have mechanisms to obtain the food and provide a 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 will provide lunches to five students for a week. La Salle International is raising $28,000 in funds to provide one trimester’s allocation of food to all these students.
Click below to help Venezuelan students get the nutrition they urgently need and stay in class!
[Photo Credits Top-Bottom: bwcentral; cocopro; Ignacio Marin; thefifthcolumn; Getty Images]
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