Breaking the Cycle of Poverty With Education, Food and Hope

The COVID-19 crisis has pushed millions of children worldwide into extreme poverty, where they face deadly risks like malnutrition. School is a lifesaving and empowering solution. It represents an opportunity to overcome the odds and break the cycle of poverty once and for all.

For many of the world’s poorest children, school also provides the only meal they’ll eat in a day. This combination of a solid Catholic education and healthy food yields the greatest gift a child can gain — hope. Faith and hope can pull them through the darkest days and lead them, with God’s guidance, to brighter days ahead.

Teacher with Kindergarten Students
Sister Tereza Gabriel believes that building bonds with children at Shambu Catholic Kindergarten will fill them with God’s love.

No Longer Too Hungry to Learn

Thanks to Catholic ministries around the world, impoverished children are receiving healthy meals to fuel their growing brains and bodies.

At Marie Louise Bayle Center in Haiti, for example, free daily nutritious meals are provided to all students, and these balanced meals help the kids excel at their studies. The program also features a wellness center where maternity, breastfeeding and child-rearing classes are provided for mothers and caretakers. This guidance is life-transforming and is supported with supplies of fortified milk for children under age 5, ensuring they are getting the vitamins they need in order to grow up healthy and strong.

The Heart of Jesus School in Peru has developed important outreaches to serve the poor. They distribute food to families in their community, and those nutritious meals help the children excel in their studies.

Related: Fighting Malnutrition by Feeding the Hungry With Vitafood


Unleash Children’s Minds and Watch Them Soar

Good nutrition is essential for a healthy childhood, but helping poor children prosper requires more than providing meals alone. Most of these boys and girls face other daily struggles and emotional hardships. Quite often, those who fall behind in school often feel alienated, insecure and powerless.

As young as he was, Gelana Reta faced these challenges. The 5-year-old spent his days collecting and selling firewood to help his family buy food.

Gelana sits between his mother and his sister.
Thanks to the support of compassionate Catholics, students like Gelana are able to go to school and eat a daily nutritious meal. Praise God!

But thanks to the generous donations of Cross Catholic Outreach’s supporters, Gelana received a full academic scholarship to Shambu Catholic Kindergarten in Ethiopia, run by the Consolata Missionaries. Many other children like him pray they too will soon be able to go to school, and the mission is working hard to make that possible.

A teenage boy in his school uniform.
Duncan is on the path to a brighter future at the St. John Bosco Rehabilitation Center in Kenya.

Although he is 18 years old, Duncan looks like a preteen because malnourishment stunted his growth and caused him to fall years behind in school. With support from Catholics in the U.S., he was able to enroll in the St. John Bosco Rehabilitation Center in Kenya and stay at the ministry’s boarding school, where he receives nutritious meals and spiritual guidance. The smile on his face reflects the joy in his heart. God is guiding Duncan’s life and his future can only get brighter as he advances in his education.

Brian in his school uniform.
Your support helped Brian Nzuki graduate at the top of his class. Thank you!

Brian Nzuki began his education at the Brother Beausang Catholic Education Center in Kenya, a Cross Catholic Outreach ministry partner, and he quickly excelled in both his classroom studies and in extracurricular activities. He graduated at the top of his class and, by the grace of God, is now a student at Harvard University.

There are hundreds of boys and girls at Brother Beausang Catholic Education Center who dream of improving their lives. The generosity of compassionate Catholics in the U.S. can make this possible. The support shows these children God hears their prayers for help and has a special plan for their lives.

Related: Poverty in Kenya: Addressing Issues of Poverty and Education

A boy stands in front of a chalkboard in a classroom.
Ricky didn’t give up on his education, and his dreams are coming true!

Because many poor parents are illiterate, their children must take on the challenges of educational classes without home support, which makes learning extraordinarily difficult. At age 11, Ricky had to restart first grade to learn the basics, and he could easily have become discouraged and given up at that daunting prospect — but he didn’t. Your gifts helped Ricky work his way through the accelerated program at St. Joseph Training Institute in Haiti, where he recently finished fourth grade and received his Sacrament of First Communion. Ricky, now filled with hope and the love of God, is excited about the vocational training he will receive next. Without the support of compassionate Catholics, his efforts to overcome his family’s poverty may never have reached this point.

Related: Restoring Hope Through Education in Haiti

Restoring Hope Is Possible

Good nutrition and a quality education represent a powerful “one-two punch” to combat poverty. They also restore hope and help children experience the transformative love of God in a tangible way. By supporting food programs and the educational outreaches of Catholic missions, you will open up unlimited opportunities for children in need. Give now and transform a child’s life forever!

Donations from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.