When a child doesn't have to worry about hunger, they can concentrate on education. Daily hunger can impair education and consequently an entire life.
As you know, School meals play a large role in keeping students in school, fighting malnutrition, and keeping them focused. For many students across the world, school lunch will be the only wholesome meal of the day that they will have. And in many places in the Horn of Africa region where poverty is the norm, most schools can’t afford to provide meals for their students. This is especially true for schools in rural areas, IDP camps, and in refugee camps.
To combat this, ARAHA initiated a pilot project to help change the situation by partnering with local schools in the region to provide lunch or breakfast to students – This has the triple benefit of alleviating hunger for children living in poverty, ensuring that the students maintain their focus in class, and providing an incentive for children to stay in school for longer periods.
We initially started the pilot project with 2 schools, and eventually expanded to a total of 7 schools. We are hoping that together we can continue to help more schools start implementing healthy breakfast or lunch programs for their students.
The impact we have witnessed has been transcendent; overall attendance, enrollment, and grades have gone up. But not only that, parents have also witnessed a healthy transformation of their children.
In addition to nurturing the children, the program also empowers some families in the community. We are able to hire cooks from the community, and this also has a positive impact on helping some families generate income.
Take for example Ali (pictured in header), who makes a living as a cook at the school his son attends. He is one of the many people who help to make our school lunch program possible. Ali is known amongst students and staff as a kind and humble man, and he is grateful to be able to provide for his family and serve the community he loves.
With all these encompassing benefits, the school lunch or breakfast program can have a huge impact on the community and school that its established in.