School meals can change the future for children

School meals can change the future for children

"Children who receive meals at school are motivated to stay at school because they are sure of meals..”
Mr. Mwondha, Primary School Teacher, Uganda

It's hard to forget the feeling of going back to school each September with our new school clothes and supplies - the excitement and the nervousness - hoping your best friend is in your class, that your teachers are nice, that you like the subjects. Excited for a new school year and routine but wishing summer break didn’t need to end. As adults we know how important school is and the stability and opportunity it brings to children.

School meals are especially crucial for a successful school year as they not only increase food security for children and families, but help keep children in school so they can thrive.

SCHOOL MEALS CHANGE THE FUTURE FOR CHILDREN

Having regular school meals has made a world of difference for children around the world. Protas, a 10-year-old boy in Uganda, has seen this difference firsthand. He participates in the meal program at his school and his mother, Mirika, has noticed how much school meals have helped her son do better in school.

a boy stands and shakes hands with his mom

Protas and his mom Mirika have experienced firsthand the benefits of having daily school meals.

"[Protas] is doing well in all subjects which wasn’t the case before the program. The teachers said ‘Protas is very active in class ever since he joined the school feeding programme. He attends school regularly’.”

When children have access to regular, nutritious meals, they have better performance in school which not only improves their educational results, but gives children a more positive schooling experience.

Regular school meals have improved Protas' concentration in class, especially after lunch. He told us that after lunch, he has enough energy to play with his friends and enjoy his afternoon classes without feeling tired or unfocused.

SCHOOL MEALS HELP CHILDREN STAY IN SCHOOL 

In Uganda, meals served at school help children spend more time in the classroom. Mr. Mwondha, a science teacher at a primary school in Uganda says one of the biggest benefits is children who are part of the school meals program have higher attendance and spend more time learning. Even though he teaches science at the school, Mr. Mwondha knows the importance of school meals, which is why he volunteers his lunchtime to help serve food, ensure kitchen safety and shelve food items in the school pantry.

a headshot of a man smiling for the camera

Mr. Mwondha, who runs the school's feeding programme, has seen the positive change that school meals bring to children.

He says that “children who receive meals at school are motivated to stay at school because they are sure of meals. Their learning ability has changed positively because they have meals at school. Their school attendance is very good. I rate it at 95%. These children do not roam in the village looking for what to eat.”

Mr. Mwondha has observed that most children who receive school meals are more likely to attend school for the recommended eight hours a day compared to six hours of attendance for children who are not part of the school meals program.

As well, children who learn how to grow their own food in the school gardens are taking those lessons to heart and teaching their own families how it can be done in their own homes.

YOU CAN HELP CHANGE THE FUTURE FOR CHILDREN 

At the end of June CFTC’s partner, UBOBAC, in Uganda had 7,115 children enrolled in their school meals program at nine schools, but they have told us that they expect the demand to grow. They estimate that 100 more children at each school will need school meals this year, which is only going to be exacerbated by the pandemic.

School meals are vital in ensuring that children can stay in school all day and have enough energy to focus on their studies so they can succeed. You can give a gift today that can help give more children, like Protas, access to nutritious school meals. Food can change the future for children.