National Nutrition Month- Inside The Joseph School’s Food for Education Program

Haiti has one of highest levels of food insecurity in the world

 4.4 million Haitians will need food assistance in 2022.

Only 65% of the population has access to basic water treatment services.

48% of the population is undernourished.

217,000 Haitian children are at risk for malnutrition.

All TJS food and supplies are from local Haitian farmers supplemented by our campus garden

TJS student Stacy.

These statistics are a harsh reality for many children in Haiti. The Joseph School is changing the reality of food scarcity for its students.

The Joseph School provides two meals to each student daily: A small breakfast meal and then a full meal of rice, beans, protein, fruit, and occasionally a treat of cookies or small cakes.

The kitchen team is a dedicated group of women who arrive at the school early to prepare meals with all fresh ingredients. The Joseph School dietary team includes parent volunteers. In order to provide balanced nutritious meals the team receives updates and training in professional nutrition classes.

TJS student Widmaer.

To provide clean water, The Joseph School’s operation team transports 40 five-gallon water jugs to and from campus each week. The jugs are sterilized and refilled with purified water at a local water station.

Wilson delivering water to campus.

This Food for Education program ensures each student is nourished in body and mind during the school day so they are able to focus on their school work, not on their hunger. For students in need, this program continues throughout the summer. At-risk students — those who live in larger families with limited resources or are low weight-for-height — receive supplementary food bars fortified with vitamins and minerals to help prevent malnutrition.

As a donor to the Food for Education program, your gift of $50 per month helps provide food for nearly 200 students. Learn more about this incredible program and begin your donor journey with us at

A Special Celebration at The Joseph School

TJS Carnival Celebrations (1)
Teacher Carlo (2020)


Brazil’s Carnival and Louisiana’s Mardi Gras are some of the most well-known celebrations across the globe, but did you know that Haiti has a celebration that combines the best from both of them?

While The Joseph School is celebrating its own version of Carnival this week, we want to share some of the highlights of the festival so you can join in too.

TJS Carnival Celebrations (2)
Teacher Achanta, 4th grade (2020)


Carnival takes place in February, the day before Ash Wednesday. However there are celebrations for weeks leading up to the day. The main celebrations are held in Port-au-Prince, but other major cities, like Jacmel, host their own festivities. Jacmel’s 3-day celebration is the heart of Carnival in Haiti and is known to be the more artistic carnival, largely because of the papier-mâché masks that the town is known for creating.


TJS Carnival Celebrations (3)
Sherley, Judith sitting, & Principal Rose in yellow, 2nd grade (2020)

During the celebration, many Haitians dress in their most colorful garments or don disguises as characters from pop culture. The main event of the day is the “Kye Marn”, a parade with a specific theme each year.


This is also a time for new music by Haitian artists. Typically new music is released specifically for the Carnival season. Haitian kompa is mixed with rara street beats and dance songs to create a heart-thumping street party. Racine is a type of music, whose lyrics pull their roots all the way from African languages! The rhythms of Racine pull from jazz, rock and roll and traditional Haitian beats making it a true modern representation of Haitian music. On the last day of Carnival, the Rara, a special form of Haitian music very popular in Leogane, marks the ending of the celebration.

Carnival at The Joseph School

This year at The Joseph School, the students celebrated in their own way! Just like in the United States, the different regions of Haiti all have their own traditions and customs. Carnival is an opportunity for The Joseph School to teach its students about different regions within their own country.

TJS Carnival Celebrations (4)
TJS 3rd Grade (2018)

Haiti’s Best Kept Secrets

Haiti has been in headlines frequently since the devastating Earthquake of 2010 brought global attention to the country. Many of these headlines have centered around political unrest, natural disasters and financial poverty in Haiti, however, there is much more to Haiti that doesn’t get printed.

The Joseph School is proud to educate and prepare Haitian students to become the next generation of leaders in their country. TJS’s curriculum focuses not only on leadership skills, but on celebrating Haitian culture and history, which is why we would like to share some of Haiti’s ‘best kept secrets’ with you, the generous supporters of The Joseph School.

Haiti is located…

on the island of Hispaniola, just 430 miles from Cuba. This island is technically considered to be part of North America and is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Maryland. Haiti shares the island with the Dominican Republic!

The name ‘Haiti’ comes from…

the indigenous Taíno people who lived on the island before Christopher Columbus arrived. The Taíno people called the island Ayiti, which translates to ‘land of the mountains.’ The country’s name was changed six more times (Kiskeya, Bohio, La Isla Española, Hispaniola, Santo Domingo, and Saint Domingue), but in 1804 when Haiti gained its independence back, the Haitian people renamed the island for its original roots. This name represents the country well due to its diverse, mountainous terrain. Haiti is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean and its highest mountain peak sits at 8,0000 feet above sea level.

Haiti is the world’s first black-led republic…

and the second independent country in the Western Hemisphere. The Haitian Revolution was inspired by the French Revolution, including the new Haitian flag! The flag was created in 1803 by Jean-Jacques Dessalines who removed the white stripe from the French flag to represent the removal of the white colonizers from the country. This version is still the base of Haiti’s flag today, with only the addition of Haiti’s coat of arms.


Hispaniolan Trogon on a stamp.

Haiti has nine life zones…

from sea levels to mountain tops. This makes the wildlife and vegetation of the island incredibly diverse and home to many exotic animals, such as the American flamingo, the rhinoceros iguana, the Haitian boa, and Haiti’s national bird: the Hispaniolan trogon. The country is also home to endangered mammal species including the Haitian Solenodon. Haiti has 5,600 plant species, some most notable including giant tree ferns, orchids, Bayahondes (a type of mesquite), cacti, and acacias. The Gourd is a prevalent food source in Haiti and it has been so important that the current currency, the Gourde, is named after it.




Haiti’s flag inspired…

the creation of several other Latin American flags. It’s blue and red bicolor can be found on the flags of Ecuador, Venezuela and Columbia, whose countries were inspired by its revolution. The Venezulan and Colombian flags were both created in Haiti (in 1806 and 18010 respectively), and the Venezuela’s flag was flown for the first time in Jacmel, Haiti.

TJS students raise the flag over campus.

As supporters of The Joseph School, you know that Haiti is more than just the headlines. Haiti is a diverse and vibrant country, filled with just as vibrant people. The Joseph School is so excited to educate children in Haiti who appreciate their home and recognize the strengths of their country to lead it into a brighter future.