Children with grumbling, hungry tummies cannot focus at school. For many of our Angels food at home can be scarce, and is often high in carbohydrates, that are cheaper, yet filling. School can also be a long day when you must wake early to boil water for your morning wash, and the walk is long to the bus stop from the back of the township. Many parents only get home in the early evening, and it is a long time between lunch, and dinner for many children.
It is for all these reasons we are so grateful for our partnership with The Lunchbox Fund whose mission is to “uphold a child’s right to an education. No child should be kept from learning by hunger or household food insecurity.”
African Angels Independent School was accepted as a beneficiary partner of the Lunchbox Fund programme in 2017, and every school day since then our Angels receive a high protein, nutritionally fortified meal for lunch.
South Africa has one of the highest school drop out rates in the world. A low level of education drives South Africa’s high unemployment rate, which is between 40% and 70% for those who have not completed high school.
The Lunchbox Fund focusses on providing nutritious food to combat Micronutrient deficiencies which can occur in children who are not necessarily hungry, but whose diets are of low nutrient quality, or which lack dietary diversity. These deficiencies are often referred to as a ‘hidden hunger’ and can have serious impacts on education and health by reducing children’s learning ability, impairing development, and reducing immunity.
Each month The Lunchbox Fund delivers a plant-based pantry of nutritionally fortified foods that are delicious and familiar to the children: baked beans, biryani, maize meal, peanut butter, porridge, rice & lentils, samp & beans, spices, sunflower oil, tomatoes, Vitamilk & Vitadrink and wholewheat macaroni. African Angels adds fresh, seasonal and locally sourced vegetables to these meals at least three times per week and provides fresh bread for the peanut butter.
Eunice, one of our moms, is a fine cook and prepares lunch for 152 children every school day – quite a feat! Her lunches are never boring, always tasty, and always packed with vitamins, minerals and proteins. Eunice knows that she will be able to serve all our Angels each day because of the Lunchbox Fund’s support, so that her son Zinzi, and his school mates will get a home cooked meal at school. There are no hungry tummies at African Angels and all the children can take advantage of the education we offer, so their futures will be different.