School Lunch Program
Partner | IBVM Community of Southern Africa
Location | Lukulu, Zambia
The School Lunch Program provides daily nutritious meals to those students at St Columba’s Secondary School who come from impoverished homes. St Columba’s has 450 students, many of whom were orphaned at a young age or are classified as vulnerable.
The School Lunch Program helps keep these students at school throughout the day and vastly improves their concentration levels, particularly in afternoon lessons. The program works towards addressing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger and Goal 4, Quality Education.
For most students, this meal is their only food intake for the day because they have no other sources or support. Many of these children camp in shacks in the Lukulu township or travel from rural villages in the surrounding districts of Lukulu and Mitete, some of which are the most remote and least developed areas in Zambia.
Many students try to do odd jobs after school and over the weekend to pay rent and buy food. When unable to get these odd jobs, they come to school with empty stomachs, making it hard to concentrate during lessons. Some opt to stay out of school, and some may miss school for a week in pursuit of paid work to survive.
The program aims to keep children from this remote region safe and in school by providing nutritious and sufficient food, especially during the school term. By doing so, the program gives these children an opportunity to break the poverty cycle by providing them with a pathway to tertiary education.
The program is implemented by a team of three teachers together with a Loreto Sister and includes:
- Purchasing food for school kitchen staff to prepare nutritious lunch meals.
- Monitoring the academic progress of the program beneficiaries.
- Ongoing dialogue with grade teachers and the school administration to identify the most vulnerable students.
- Encouraging those students who can afford a small monthly fee to enrol in the program, thereby supplementing the budget. These are students who can afford to pay but find it difficult to go home for lunch due to the distance.