ZAMBIA: Children receive meals to improve education
More than 700 people in Katongo village receive rice-meals from Feed My Starving Children shipment.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (July 11, 2022) People living in the village of Katongo, Zambia received better nutrition thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, and Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian organization committed to “feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit.” A rice-meal shipment was received in November 2021 and provided meals for more than 700 people.
Among the recipients of the donation was the Salesian-run Mornese Mission which educates more than 200 students in primary and secondary school. Children received the rice-meals three times a week at school, which supplements food that is procured locally. With the feeding program, there was an increase in the number of children attending school and class participation on the days the food is provided. This demonstrates the strong link between nourishing food and positive educational and social outcomes.
A Salesian missionary noted, “Mornese Mission is located in an area where early marriage is common. Because of this practice, many boys prefer to drop out of school and start work to earn money. However, without finishing their education, their lifelong earning potential is severely hampered. Mornese Mission seeks to reverse this trend, and the food provided by Feed My Starving Children helps keep students in school.”
Other recipients of the donation included children, women and the elderly in the Katongo village. In the village, women work hard to provide food for their children, and even some of the elderly adults are still working to provide for their grandchildren.
Precedence Chama is one of the recipients. She is a tenth-grade student and lives in Brown village with her mother. Because of their financial situation, they only eat once a day and sometimes it is hard to afford even that. Chama has been receiving the rice-meals at school and since that time she has gained weight and become more active. She likes reading, playing netball and visiting different places. She hopes to be able to travel around the world.
Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily, and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has also taken a devastating toll on Zambia’s children. There are 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable by UNICEF, and these children struggle to find education, basic services and hope for their future.
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