Watch Alimata, 19, speak about how she benefits from the Food for Thought Programme
Samuel is 17 years of age and lives with fifteen members of his family: including his parents, two sisters and five brothers in Tangai – 10km from school. He cycles to school every day (on his fast bike!) which takes him about thirty minutes, some days he has breakfast before he leaves for school but often he is not able to.
Samuel is now part of the Giving Africa food programme, which means that he receives a nutritious meal every day.
Before the food programme launched he would find food from the town (if he had money) otherwise his “tummy would just rumble all day”. His mother gives thanks for this wonderful opportunity “now he does not have to look for food and can have more time for learning – you cannot learn when you are hungry”.
Erratic rains, poor harvests and related increases in the cost of cereals and grains, all contribute to a constant struggle to obtain food, especially in the most deprived areas of Burkina Faso. Many children eat just one meal a day, some are less fortunate and do not get to eat every day. As with most of the population, the vast majority of the children at Bethel school are undernourished and this dramatically affects their ability to learn. Often, children are not allowed to go to school because they are needed to support the family at home, this is especially true for girls.
We know that local families would be far more likely to allow their children to attend school, knowing that they will be nutritionally provided.
Since June 2013 the ‘Food for Thought’ programme has run at Bethel School to provide one nutritious meal per school day for over 200 of the most vulnerable children. These are children who have; sick or disabled parents, come from large families, live far from school or are orphans. Our funding only allows us to feed these 200 and yet there are a further 900 students who would all benefit immensely from the nourishment and nutrition this meal would give them. Safieta, who also receives a meal each day, says “the canteen also supports our parents, so even if we don’t eat at home we can eat at school, and if I have extra I can take it home too”.