|Moringa oleifera is known as a miracle tree by international aid groups across the world. The tree suprislingly has more beneficial uses to Humans than any other plant species. Ryan initiated a Moringa project with the local community organization OJD while stationed in La Madeleine with Peace Corps. Thousands of trees were planted and a Moringa powder business was initiated.
Moringa Oleifera is known as the drum stick tree in India and is used all across Asia and Africa. It is considered a miracle tree because of its high nutrient value; it has more vitamins than spinach, cabbage, or any other leafy vegetable. It is highly valuable because every part of the plant has a function, including the use of the flowers for medicinal tea and the use of the peapods as food.
The group grinds up the leaves, the most nutritional part of the plant, and packages the powder for sale. They currently are providing several pharmacies with the powder and sell it locally to lactating mothers, and malnutritioned children.
HSDF has taken on the role of parenting this project and has helped them plant more trees as well as distribute an informational pamphlet about the plant. Many people do not know its uses and only use it as livestock feed.
HSDF plans on helping the group OJD build a facility where the powder can be produced hygienically, and sold all across Haiti, with the potential for export to health stores across the U.S. We are also in negotiations with local town farm owners who we would like to plant over 4 acres of high-intensity Moringa plots.
Peace Corps, Haiti was cancelled during the coup against Aristide in 2003, and since hasn't been able to re-establish due to continual political violence. Many projects were left unfinished due to the abrubt nature of the 2003 evacuations. The organization OJD has been struggling to keep the Morgina project afloat and are in need of immediate assistance.
Currently, Haiti ranks highest for malnutrition in the western Hemisphere, and over half the population lives below the minimum level of dietary energy consumption. Moringa will help provide lactating mothers and infants get the nutrition they need in early development, when it is the most vital. La Madeliene will benefit not only from the Moringa powder, but, from the thousands of trees that will be planted in the zone. There are less than 2% of the original forests left in Haiti, and approaching 1% in the zone of La Madeleine. A nutritional project is essential in developing a well-rounded program that addresses the most urgent needs of a community, and which will help students reach their educational potential because of the availability of calories.
This project will have the opportunity to benefit the entire zone, especially mothers or soon to be mothers, and has the potential to reach the majority of Haiti within 5 years. If the product is approved for export, it will economically be beneficial to the zone and Haiti, not to mention the health sector in the United States. Within a year, 22,000 women and children will profit from the project, including over 100 students who have the capacity purchase the product.
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