For the poorest of the poor, the main motivator to send children to school is the mid-day meal. If this wasn’t provided, many parents would choose to get their kids to work with them on the fields so that they get a better chance at earning their daily meals. For poor parents, survival is more important than education. Daily Feeding Programs solve this to quite an extent.
Across the world, governments and nonprofits provide free or heavily subsidized midday meals to poor children. These types of initiatives solve more than one challenge- they ensure the kids get the nutrition they need while also making sure they don’t drop out of school.
Though many countries offer free nutritious meals to poor children by law, there are many other developing countries where this isn’t the case. There, the governments are incapable of providing such a facility, or corruption and mismanagement do not allow the poor to enjoy these benefits.
Challenges in providing such meals
Lack of government support- In countries where the free nutritious midday meal isn’t backed by regulations, local schools, and missions find it challenging to get adequate support from the government to run the scheme. Even if the government provides grants for the scheme, corruption, and red tape hampers the timely funding needed to buy ingredients, utensils, and other requirements.
Poor infrastructure- Many schools across the developing world are not in a state for running a regular kitchen and storage infrastructure. Sometimes the roof leaks, and other times there’s no running water or gas. Also getting the supplies to the school can be a task in itself, considering the remote location of the schools. Many missions find it tough to ensure the free midday meal scheme runs regularly.
Lack of resources and manpower- Besides poor infrastructure, there is also the problem of the lack of manpower and utilities to get the food cooked daily. Any delay in delivering ingredients or an intermittent supply of utilities can affect the daily cooking process. Also, appointing staff to prepare the meals and training them also costs money, and if they don’t turn up any day the whole scheme gets jeopardized.
Lack of funding- In countries where the government does not offer assistance for nutritious midday meals, nonprofit and other international aid-run schools require regular donations for Daily providing Food & Medical Supplies. Though some schools do get regular funds, sometimes the flow of funds can be irregular and erratic. This greatly affects the midday meal scheme.
Poor quality meals- Sometimes the meals cooked at the school are of so poor quality that children don’t eat them. This could be due to the usage of poor-quality ingredients or a lack of other resources to provide the right food. When the meals tend to be consistently poor tasting, many children who depend on these meals for nourishment tend to skip school and work with their parents instead. This defeats the whole purpose of having a midday meal scheme.
How you can help these poor children?
To ensure that poor school students have a nourishing meal daily, we need to donate to poorest of the poor consistently for the whole school year. For many poor children, a regular midday meal is the main attraction to come to school, or else their parents may put them to do odd jobs for paltry sums. Your donations help keep these kids healthy and strong, if not for our help, they would become malnourished or stunted. At the Breath of the Spirit, Dr. Michelle Corral is doing all she can to provide for these children, while also using her organization’s chesed clothing donation for added benefit. Donate monthly to make sure these kids get a chance to succeed in life, a chance to lift themselves out of poverty and helplessness.