Starving at school

Emfundisweni Primary in Alexandra is like most other schools in South Africa: the feeding scheme keeps starving kids in class.

Emfundisweni Primary in Alexandra is like most other schools in South Africa: the feeding scheme keeps starving kids in class.

A concerned principal sustains the scheme with the help of volunteers and meagre government funds.

Everyone agrees that school feeding schemes sustain malnourished bodies and minds, for hungry kids cannot cope physiologically or mentally with schoolwork.

The government provides scant funds for these schemes, but too often the money is frittered away.

About 10percent of the kids at Emfundisweni are orphans, but for many more the two square meals they get at school will be the only solid food they can rely on.

Despite the rah-rah bling culture that suffuses our society, we can never forget that half of all South Africans go to bed hungry every night.

Until our schools provide the food and basic social services that have been promised all pupils for so many years, we will never succeed in educating their malnourished bodies.

Emfundisweni found that absenteeism rates plummeted after it started providing the kids two meals of pap a day.

Properly planned nutritious meals are the only way we can hope to educate the next generation. Our future and their present depend on keeping this promise.

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