Last Thursday, March 14th, I had the privilege of rolling out RMI’s Hope for Kidz Deworming Program in all of our Hope for Kidz schools. This was an exciting day for us at RMI! Hope for Kidz enables individuals to sponsor a Haitian child to go to school. A sponsorship covers the cost of tuition, registration fees, books, uniform and shoes. In the last few years we’ve added a hot lunch program in many of those schools and have been able to include more schools every year.
RMI truly believes that an education provides kids with hope for their future. A healthy child is better equipped to learn. We have seen the impact that the Hot Lunch program is having: it is improving the health of all the kids involved. We also believe that by deworming the kids every year, the kids will be healthier and will greatly decrease the incidence of intestinal worms in the community.
A few of our US sister churches have initiated deworming projects in their partnership churches and from that, a dream to deworm all of our school kids was born. A big shout out to The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the Chicago area who originally gathered and developed the educational materials necessary for this program. It sure made the planning process so much easier!
The Details: Why is deworming important? Intestinal worms is a big problem here in Haiti. Worms cause many different intestinal problems. For many kids, they are fortunate to get one square meal a day. An intestinal worms infection robs already undernourished kids of much needed nutrients. Worms inhibit children’s growth. These infected kids are not able to focus well in school. Worms make kids more susceptible to other diseases. Deworming is as simple as providing each child one deworming tablet per year to eradicate an active infection or prevent eggs from turning into an active infection.
The Decision: We asked the question: Who should get the annual deworming medication? We had already decided that a small portion of each child sponsorship would cover the costs associated with deworming. We quickly realized that this program would only be effective if we could administer the meds to ALL the children in each school, not just just sponsored kids. This meant that this school year, 9,000 kids will receive deworming medication that will improve their overall health.
The Process: We decided to bring into the RMI office, all the school administrators for the 33 schools that have sponsored children, and hold a deworming training session and distribute the meds. During the training session we went over why deworming is important and went through the process of how to hold a deworming clinic in their schools. We provided them with a log book to keep records, as well as the pills and cups needed to ensure each person at the school receives medication. The administrators took these items back to their school and held a deworming clinic. We plan to do this once every year.
For me, this training session was a really big day! It is something I have been working on for quite a while. On top of that, I was challenged by one of our Haitian staff to do the training myself. That meant I presented it all in Creole with out being translated! I am thankful I was stretched in this way and that Benson was there to back me up when my Creole wasn’t quite right :)
If you sponsor a child through RMI’s Hope for Kidz program, THANK YOU for making this possible! Your dollars are going a long way to assist the health of not only your sponsored child, but of many others in your child’s school.