Every child needs a healthy start to the day! However, when our team paid a visit to our partners at the Liberia Renaissance Education Complex (LREC), we were told that many students weren’t getting that.
It wasn’t that parents didn’t want the best for their children. It was simply that with an average GDP per capita of less than USD 60 per month, parents couldn’t afford it. When LREC was set up in 2006, the country was only just emerging from 20 years of civil conflict. Less than 10 years later, the country found itself in the midst of the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic. Just six years later, COVID-19 lockdowns have once again wrought economic havoc in a country where many families rely on petit trading at local marketplaces for income.
Here was an opportunity to help both struggling parents and their children.
Not only does malnutrition lead to poor physical and cognitive development outcomes in growing bodies, hunger also isn’t the best foundation for clear focus in the classroom.
With the support of The DEAR Foundation, the school implemented a school breakfast program – open to every student in the school – and it’s been worth every dollar invested.
Students’ health has improved, with fewer visits to the school nurse, and greater participation in sport. Daily attendance is up, and more than 60% of students are coming to school earlier to make the most of the opportunity to eat before class. More importantly for learning, teachers are reporting greatly increased energy levels, focus and participation in their classrooms, as well as fewer behavioral issues.
That’s the way to go.