Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
Three square meals!
Plenty of protein and fruits and vegetables!
For those of us raised in first world countries, nutrition information is not only a part of our baseline knowledge, it is also built systematically into our various social programs. While food-based social protection (think school lunches, soup kitchens, food stamps etc.) may not be perfect, and children certainly fall through cracks, the fact that food and nutrition are prominently woven throughout society shows its benefit in the overall health of its children.
In Zambia (and similar third world nations) the story could not be more different. Anecdotally, we can rightly presume that the marjority of school going children in rural areas are eating one or two meals a day - a carb heavy diet woefully insufficient in protein and iron. The statistics gathered by various groups including UNICEF and USAID help make those general observations more concrete:
40% of children are stunted
60% are anemic
only 12% of children are receiving an adequate diet
And as a mission that gives focus to both health and education, we must also pay attention to the implications of inadequate nutrition on the academic performance of our students.
In our 11 years as eduators in this community, we have seen as commonplace the following:
students who do not come to school because they have not been fed;
students who fall asleep and have trouble focusing;
students who have to go lie down because their empty stomachs are hurting too badly;
students who present as developmentally delayed or low IQ due to prolonged nutritional deficiencies.
The data here, too, stands to confirm why nutrition and education are inseparable.
Numerous studies have shown that poor diet is linked to low IQ, poor thinking skills and even lack of curiosity. These linkages, and associated consequences, provide one explanation for Zambia’s overall poor performance in education:
40% of young adults are illiterate
45% of all students won’t advance beyond elementary school
Zambia ranks as the fourth WORST educational system in the WORLD
Choshen continues to tackle these issues on a variety of fronts. Our food security initiative is designed to improve household nutrition by improving availability and access of high quality, nutritious foods. And while we are pleased with the progress that dozens of families are making, the program has not yet reached 100% of families whose children attend our school. Creating a systemic change in the way parents view household management and nutrition is a long term progrect with success indicators that will take years to both train on and achieve. In the interim, we see that a more targeted intervention to improve the health and academic performance of the students specifically at Fimpulu Christian is absolutely necessary.
ENTER THE BRAIN FOOD PROGRAM
By God’s grace, we endeavor to construct a facility and to serve breakfast and lunch to the students of Fimpulu Christian as a means of improving overall health - and by extension - school attendance and academic performance.
The program wil ensure that children have a strong motivation to attend school on time and ensure that they are receiving a diet rich in protein, omega 3s and healthy fats to supplement the carb-heavy diet they are receiving at home.
As children enter class, every day, on-time, alert and ready to learn, we expect the numbers of children requiring intervention and special education services to drop and to see an overall improvement in learning.
If we feed them, they will come.
If we feed them, they will learn.
The Brain Food is urgently needed.
So what is needed to launch?
Primarily the structure.
Choshen Farm is already producing much of the food stuffs that will be served in the Brain Food Program. What we need is the proper facility to store, prepare and serve the food.
While generous year end giving in 2018 brought the Brain Food building (aka the cafeteria) up to this point, it has sat at its current level for the last three months while we have waited for continued funding. We estimate that we need roughly $16,500 to finish the project. Our revised goal is to finish construction by the start of term three at the end of August.
With your help, we can bless the bellies and minds of Fimpulu’s most precious people with this game-changing program.
Would you consider…
Skipping a meal…
foregoing a few lattes…
or staying out of restaurants for a while…
just to see kids fed for years to come?
Would you count the first-world blessing of enough calories and plenty of protein, and let that move your hearts towards the kids who desperately need more of both?
Would you do whatever you can to make sure God’s kids can grow up happy and healthy with sharp minds that will glorify Him?
Visit www.choshenfarm.org/donate to make a difference today.