School nutrition programme improves children’s concentration

School meals. School Nutrition Programme Resumption
Written by Thabo Molelekwa

Learners who get free meals at school as part of the National School Nutrition Programme are more likely to concentrate in class, be punctual, attend school regularly.

In the Western Cape, the Peninsula School Feeding Association (PSFA) has partnered with the provincial Department of Education to provide food in over 100 schools.

“We have about 114 schools in our programme where we provide breakfast and lunch,” said Charles Grey, the fundraising officer for PFSA, which provides breakfast and lunch to learners.Most children don’t get breakfast at home “and it is difficult to concentrate when you are hungry,” he said.

“It also promotes punctuality, arriving on time in school,” he said as the breakfast is provided at 7h30 and the schools starts at 8am “We train members of the community, usually unemployed parents, to prepare and serve meals at each of the schools and we provide each volunteer with a monthly stipend,” Grey said.

The menu that was designed by the nutritionist, but it has had to be changed because of severe drought in the Western Cape. While they are still serving maize meal for breakfast, they are providing sandwiches instead for lunch.

Grey mantained that the reason they changed the menu was because all the schools they provide with food, on avarage all schools together use 200 000 litres of water per month for cooking, so with the drought in Western Cape they had to change the original menu.

“Some schools are turning off water if there is no water there is no food, and we can’t have our children going hungry because there is no water,” said Grey, who added that all schools together used, on average 200 000 litres per month for cooking.

According to a report compiled by the University of Cape Town’s Children’s Institute, three out of every four children in South Africa are living in poverty, with approximately 30% of the country’s population experiencing food insecurity.

PSFA Schools Feeding Menu (original menu)

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast Breakfast
Maize meal Maize Meal Maize Meal Maize Meal Maize Meal
Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
Rice Samp Rice Rice Samp
Pilchards in Tomato Sugar Beans Curry Soya Mince Pilchards in Tomato Savoury Soya Mince
Brown Lentils Oil Fresh Carrots Fresh Cabbage Fresh Carrots
Fresh Butternut Salt Salt Salt Salt
Salt Fruit in Season Fruit in Season Oil
Breyani Mix

Temporarily drought menu for lunch

Sandwiches(brown bread) with spread (which ranges from baked beans to pilchards, jam and peanut butter).

About the author

Thabo Molelekwa

Thabo Molelekwa joined OurHealth citizen journalists project in 2013 and went on to become an intern reporter in 2015. Before joining Health-e News, Thabo was a member of the Treatment Action Campaign’s Vosloorus branch. He graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology with a diploma in Computer Systems and started his career at Discovery Health as a claims assessor. In 2016 he was named an International HIV Prevention Reporting Fellow with the International Centre for Journalists and was a finalist in the Discovery Health Journalism Awards competition in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Thabo also completed a feature writing course at the University of Cape Town in 2016. In 2017 he became a News reporter , he is currently managing the Citizen Journalism programme.You can follow him on @molelekwa98