NPH Farms: Successfully Achieving Zero Hunger in our Homes
Hard work in our farm ensures that our children have three meals a day to grow up strong and healthy. June 20, 2018 - Haiti
Agriculture and sustainable development at NPH homes.
Bernard Jean Jacques, now 34 years-old, was born in Kayes, in the south of Haiti. Sadly, he lost both of his parents within three years. He joined the St. Francois D’Asis sisters in 1993 and was adopted by them, and then moved from Cayes to Port-au-Prince. There, he had an accident in his leg, and after seven months without medical help, one of the sisters got in touch with NPFS (NPH Haiti) and had him admitted to the former St. Damien Hospital in Petion-Ville, where he received treatment and recovered.
Following his treatment, the nuns looking after Bernard asked the NPH home in St. Helene at Kenscoff if they could take him in, for he had no parents and received great care at our clinic. This is how he came to spend 10 years living with our NPH family, and another two years in an the NPH external program, where he graduated in Electrical Engineering. After his graduation it was not easy for him to get job in the country, so he decided to work at his original home, making necklaces and bracelets to sell to tourists and other visitors of a summer camp in the area. When the earthquake hit Haiti, he decided to come back to the NPH to support the recovery efforts, working in the purchasing department, and then the cholera center of the health department for a total of five years. His journey then continued, and he now is with the Father Wasson Angels of Light program, where he supervises the agriculture and farming work of NPH Haiti.
He has nine employees working with him at the farm, and two young adults who are giving their year of service – a program where children raised by NPH spend one year working at the home, gaining professional work skills and experience all while giving back to the family that raised them.
At the farming and agriculture program, we are producing a variety of foods, including plantains, cabbage, manioc, corn, sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, water melon, cantaloupe, beans, mango, and cassava. At St. Helene, we produce cabbage, potatoes, leeks, lettuce and green bell peppers.
Our agricultural program, also called a “micro-farming” program, is very important, because the price of food has greatly increased locally. Among the most expensive foods are rice, beans, herring, oil, meat, some vegetables, and milk. Due to the expensive cost of buying it, the meals we provide for our children contain very little meat. Chicken is served once a week. Instead, our farming allows us to supplement the nutrition found in meat with a variety of lower-cost plant-based meals that allow our children to still grow strong at a more sustainable cost.
At NPH Haiti, we cultivate and harvest our crops three times per year. Recently, we have begun to experiment with growing a plant called moringa, a vitamin-rich addition to salads or sauces.
All children that come to NPH, have dealt with hunger before arrival, and some experienced severe malnutrition. Those who lived with a family before coming to NPH Haiti also suffered from hunger. Some of them are brought to NPH because their family members are not able to feed them, not able to give them clothes or not able to educate them. Some of the children were brought to NPH as a result of the terrible earthquake, which left them homeless or orphaned.
Material limitations are one of the biggest struggles facing the farm, and are one area in which we always welcome assistance and support. NPH Haiti’s farm does not have state of the art tractors or equipment found in much larger homes; much of the work is done by hand by our hard-working staff. We don’t even have animals who aid in working the fields, for the animals we do have are used mainly for consumption. Despite these challenges, Bernard does not get discouraged with his job, nor with his NPH family.
“I love NPFS because it is my true family and it’s the home who made me who I am today. They raised me and saved my life.”
Denso Gay Communication Officer
You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson