How do you keep a child in school?
The answer is simply "porridge."
I have had the incredible fortune to meet extremely motivated children. The kind of kids that cannot wait to study and learn as much as they possibly can in school in the hopes for a brighter future. These kids typically do not have parents or family to wake them up in the morning or insist that they do their homework. These children do all of it on their own, and this includes surviving on the streets. Of all the troubles they face, most if not all, never keep them from coming to class each day.
There is only one trouble that can get in their way, and that is Hunger.
Imagine, waking up for
with no breakfast, and continuing on all day with no lunch. After school, you may have to carry groceries for people in markets and hope that they tip you enough money so that you may eat tonight. And imagine if you do not get tipped enough or you become ill and are not able to work after school. The complexities dealing with their hunger goes beyond our imaginations but even this simple example can explain why a class of 70 children so often can dwindle well below those numbers on any given day.
I want to offer these children an incentive to come to school everyday other than the long term benefits they are already aware of. Porridge is the ideal answer to this.
Something as simple as porridge has many benefits to these children that extend beyond just feeding their hunger. Porridge is inexpensive to cook, but can yield large amounts which is great for a school of 200 plus students. The children will be able to focus better on their studies knowing that they will not go hungry all day. A child will never miss school knowing they will get nourishment for their minds AND stomachs. The increase in energy will allow them to do their best to obtain a meal after school.
They say "Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." Well look at it this way. The kids are learning to fish as we speak, but the time it will take them to start catching fish on their own will be some time. With no parents to "give them fish" as children should be given, it is us that must try and help them so that they can one day learn how to fish for themselves one day.
A simple meal such as porridge will allow them to be present in class physically and mentally, ready to continue the small steps they are so determined to take towards a better life.