ATTENDANCE IN LAWRA SCHOOLS IS EXTREMELY LOW. CHILDREN ARE INSTEAD SPENDING THEIR TIME SEARCHING FOR FOOD IN THE BUSH, CLIMBING DANGEROUSLY HIGH TREES, CATAPULTING WILD ANIMALS, FARMING THE LAND OR SELLING FOOD AT THE MARKET.
In response to this, ATE launched it’s first free school meal programme at Karbo Primary School on 7th January 2013, and now provides nurtious school lunches to over 850 children in Lawra District.
After working in Schools for one year, building a relationship of trust and mutual respect, ATE expands the feeding program to a holistic model. In addition to feeding the children, ATE works with schools and PTA’s assessing the needs of the children to ensure that they are able to learn. Little things make a huge difference.
Provision of this daily meal not only relieves hunger, but also provides a strong motivation to come to school. Many children walk long distances, often barefoot, to receive their nutritious school lunch. Nearly 3 and a half years into the programme the children are healthier, happier and accessing education. The impact of this daily meal is immeasurable. A child who is provided with a school lunch will be more likely to attend school and will have a reduced chance of becoming ill from malnourishment or being hurt in the process of finding food.
Rigorous monitoring and evaluation show that this programme is making a considerable difference to the community. As well as attendance and enrolment increasing, regular weighing and measuring of all children show that they are becoming healthier. In addition, teachers report better concentration from the children, and attainment is improved. Parents, teachers and children are enthusiastic about ATE’s work.
Educating the young people of Lawra will enable them to become enterprising adults, with a chance to make change and become somebody who can make a difference. Encouraging children into schools opens up job opportunities, gives the ability to communicate in English (a vital skill in a part of the world where the local dialect only extends for several kilometres), and a broader understanding of the world. This education encourages them to have dreams of a better life.