First Comes Food: Balancing Food, Education, and Dreams

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First Comes Food: Balancing Food, Education, and Dreams

a girl smiles in front of a fieldThe concept of “first comes food” has never been more true for Marion and her father Francis. 

When experiencing hardship, families often face the difficult decision of feeding their children over other crucial aspects of life like education, livelihoods, and even health. 

That’s why when food comes first, everything else will follow.

Global Challenges: Navigating a convergence of crises 

We are amid a convergence of global crises including inflation, unequal pandemic recovery, climate change, and food supply chains disrupted by conflict. 

And unfortunately, hunger doesn’t wait. Nearly one in three people worldwide are facing hunger, and children are being hit the hardest. Parents around the world are finding themselves in a relentless struggle to put enough food on the table, leading to agonizing decisions that can jeopardize their children’s wellbeing. 

Families are having to choose between a meal and sending their children to school, pursuing their own livelihoods, or providing necessary health and hygiene. These are impossible choices that no family should have to make. 

The solution is clear. When we put food first, like CFTC donors did for Marion and her family, children and their families are free from vulnerable situations, and can thrive, reaching their full potential.

Francis' choice: Food or education 

A father sits on a stoop with his arms around his daughter. they're both smiling brightlySeven-year-old Marion and her five siblings live with their father, Francis, in Uganda. Although she proudly tells us that she’s thriving now, there was a time when she and her family faced many challenges.

Francis shares that while being a single parent to six children may not be easy, it is very rewarding. His greatest joy is spending time with his children and seeing each of them grow.

Recently, Francis faced income instability as a fisherman, and he realized, to his dismay, that he couldn’t afford enough food, let alone school fees. The fear that his dream of seeing all his children get an education would not materialize haunted him, which led him to painfully consider having to withdraw Marion from school. 

“I want all of them to study,” Francis says, “but I couldn’t raise the funds to send them all.”

When children, especially girls like Marion, are pulled out of school, their futures become bleak and can include risky migration, early marriage, and missed opportunities for fulfilling livelihoods. 

But when food comes first, these risks fade away and hope is born.

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Marion’s performance in class has been amazing and I’m hoping she is going to have a bright future.
Francis, Marion's father

Transformative change for Marion

a little girl smiles and rests her head in her father's lap as they sit outside their homeThanks to the generosity of CFTC supporters, Marion’s father received food support, which alleviated him of the burden of choosing between food and school for his children. This allowed him to save his income to pay his children’s school fees.

As well, by keeping Marion in school, she receives nutritious, balanced meals, which takes additional pressure off her father. She tells us that she can concentrate better in class since she isn’t hungry and hasn’t been getting sick as often. 

Francis tells us, “Marion’s performance in class has been amazing and I’m hoping she is going to have a bright future.” 

Donor support didn’t just end with food. Francis was also given opportunities in his community to enhance his family income. After joining a VSLA (Village Savings and Loan Association), he is investing in his children’s health and education more effectively. As well, he attended home gardening and cooking training, providing a long-term supply of fresh food right outside his kitchen. 

The result? Francis tells us he is spending more quality time with his children growing and preparing healthy food and is thankful for the financial security that CFTC donors have gifted his family.

FIRST COMES FOOD

It doesn’t have to be food OR education. It can be food AND education for children and families worldwide. Parents shouldn't have to choose between a meal and education, health, or a brighter future. 

When a child has food, they can have everything else they need to grow and thrive.