The Importance of a Healthy Diet
With 59% of people living on $1.25 a day in the DRC, the Global Hunger Index ranks the country’s food crisis as “extremely alarming”. It is not surprising that as a result, malnutrition is an underlying cause in nearly half of all child deaths, and no wonder that education fails to be prioritized within these communities. For those living in the Katanga province of Eastern Congo, where Kalebuka is located, the annual income barely reaches the minimum requirements of an energy-only diet, not to mention the cost of a healthy diet.
It is irrefutable that a healthy mind and a healthy body go hand in hand in a child’s development. Research readily backs up the claim that children learn better with a balanced diet because they are able to focus in their classes and are more alert. Offering the very best environment possible to the girls, the School’s very own on-site cafeteria is fully stocked, made possible through the generosity of Nestlé, Quovadis and Bushcamp, as well as local donors. It also uses fruits and vegetables from its own garden. Two healthy meals a day are provided to each girl at the School. The canteen is run by our Malaika cook, who benefited from two weeks of training provided by Bushcamp. All meals have been strategically planned with the help of a nutritionist to ensure a balanced diet that meets the needs of the girls at this crucial stage in their lives. The girls really enjoy these meals, and since the School began offering the meal program, our girls do not want to miss school. It is a great boost and motivation for the girls.
Effects of the Malaika School for Girls Meals Plan
Louise before Malaika School meals
Louise after Malaika School meals
As part of the next step in nutrition awareness, the School will be expanding to include a subsistence agriculture program, an interactive project that will allow the girls to contribute to their canteen themselves and learn constructive farming practices to share with their families. Although Bushcamp is currently supplying vegetables for meals, we are confident the success of the agriculture program will allow our School meal program to become self-sustaining. It has been such a pleasure watching the girls grow each day in vitality, strength and confidence.