First Person: I know what it’s like to go hungry as a child |

As a child, Rose Senoviala Desir lived in the northern Haitian city of Cap Haitien and received hot meals as part of the WFPof the school feeding program, but go hungry on weekends when there is no school. She said feeding young Haitian youths in this way influenced her decision to one day work with WFP.

“My mother is a teacher, has to go on a business trip, so she cannot cook for me and my three brothers until late at night. I was fortunate enough to attend a school where WFP provided free hot meals to children. I received these meals from the age of six to the age of 12.

My brother, five years younger than me, couldn’t afford to go to school, so I went to the kitchen after the kids had finished eating and asked to bring some food home for him. You can’t eat those hot meals at the weekend, so sometimes you don’t eat, so you know what it’s like to be hungry. And I understand how much more difficult it is to study on an empty stomach. My mother spends all the money she has to send her children to school. It made me realize how important WFP is to my family and my country.

I have always been interested in plants, animals and agriculture. During school holidays, I always go to my grandparents’ house in the suburbs and help out with their small plot of land. I learned how to raise goats, as well as chickens, ducks, and turkeys.

WFP's Rose Senoviala Desir meets farmers in the north of Haiti.

WFP Haiti / Theresa Piorr

WFP’s Rose Senoviala Desir meets farmers in the north of Haiti.

I was also taught how to grow and harvest grapefruit, a delicious fruit that my grandmother sold at the market. I will help sort through the beans my grandparents have grown; White beans have the best price, followed by red and black beans, so it’s my job to sort them out for sale.

I learned so much to help my grandparents and enjoyed it so much that building on that knowledge, by studying agronomy in college, was an obvious choice for me. I. I worked as a housekeeper for a doctor to pay for my tuition and I graduated in 2014.

I have always wanted to learn, share my knowledge and have trained many women on agricultural issues. I realized that what I want most in life is to help vulnerable people, even save lives, so my values ​​really align with WFP values.

My work now focuses on building resilience in rural areas, helping them adapt to a changing climate, and supporting efforts to protect their land and livelihoods by building structures to prevent erosion and help with irrigation. Most of this work was completed last year and we are seeing improvements in crop resistance to adverse weather conditions and increased yields. ”

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