Food Distribution in Rwanda Has Improved
The article ``Refugee Relief in Rwanda Stymied by Fraud, Abuse, Inappropriate Donations,'' Nov. 5, is misleading.
The problem of food resales by local authorities and by beneficiaries themselves has improved significantly since the author was here in August.
The government of Rwanda provided computerized beneficiary lists that have enabled the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Food Program to eliminate some 450,000 false recipients. The quantity of relief food distributed has also been reduced now that more than 500,000 people have returned to their homes in the demilitarized zone.
The fact that relief food is much more specifically targeted to those in need is demonstrated by the improvement in the level of malnutrition of children under age five in the camps. The October report by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health indicates that malnutrition rates have fallen significantly. The present level is not higher than the general national average of Rwanda. The nutritional situation has improved to such an extent that nongovernmental organizations working in this sector are closing down some centers.
I sincerely hope that Rwanda will continue to receive support from the international community as it faces its newest burden of almost 400,000 refugees from Burundi. Joseph Kabore Kigali, Rwanda Director of Operations, World Food Program Parents, welfare, work
Regarding the articles ``Clinton Shifts Welfare Reform Into Gear'' and ``Changes to Vermont's System Mandate Work for Recipients,'' Nov. 18:
The first article states, ``Most welfare recipients are women with children.'' That's the nub of the matter. Any system that mandates work must also provide a complex support system.
It is better to provide young women with parent training and pay them to remain at home with children under age two. However, if they must go to work, they also must be provided with top-class child care, subsidized housing, reliable transportation, meaningful job training, and continued support in the period between first job and self-sufficiency.
I founded the Creative Learning Center in Dallas and directed it from 1968 to 1979. I frequently saw mothers slide back onto welfare when support was withdrawn just as they needed it most - during the transition to self-sufficiency.
Providing the needed support may cost more than current programs, but in the long run we would produce more knowledgeable parents, children better prepared for school and success in life, and more productive citizens.
It would be a small price to pay to reduce the costs of remedial education, school dropouts, crime and other very costly deficits to society. Bess M. Tittle, San Diego
When are we as a nation going to be mature enough to recognize the parent at home as a very real participant in the American work force?
I suggest that we look at welfare reform from the point of view of the recipient. If we consider the small check as payment for services rendered, then we are looking at a group that is working for well under minimum wage. To add insult to injury we pretend these people do not work and insist they get a job.
I challenge any well-intentioned critic of welfare to manage a family falling apart (because of lack of funds), nurture children, and get a full-time job on top of it all.
Forcing single parents to work prematurely is not a sensible solution. Suzi Aufderheide, Ashland, Ore. Everyday inspiration
The Home Forum article ``Poems From a Kindergarten World,'' Nov. 18, reminds us that poetry can often be the result of contact with everyday things. The mood that a certain environment evokes can affect the poet profoundly. Bringing older students and teachers into the kindergarten area is both inventive and possibly trend-setting. It fortifies the idea that poetry comes from the inspiration of commonplace objects and concerns. William Beyer, Belvidere, Ill.