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A Plate of Food, A Glass of Hope

By: Hamdan Hamedan

“It’s hard for me to focus on learning in class when I’m hungry,” says Remaz, a fifth-grade student in Sudan. “The school feeding program has made me more excited about school and saves my family money,” he concludes.

Known as the School Meal Program, this initiative has become a cornerstone in many countries.

Recent data shows that 58% of students worldwide, or about 418 million children in over 76 countries, have benefited from it.

From the United States to Argentina, from Rwanda to neighboring countries like Thailand, the impact is widespread.

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The program has been proven not only to improve attendance and reduce dropout rates but also to enhance the health and academic performance of students, as well as alleviate the economic burden on families.

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A study titled “Eating at School and Educational Achievement: Evidence from the Midday Meal Program in India” found that students who received lunch for 5 years scored 18% higher in reading than those who received it for less than 1 year.

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For mathematics, there was an increase of about 9%.

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This study is significant as it is the longest and largest study on the impact of school lunches on elementary students.

The data collected is substantial: from 600 rural districts in India, involving more than 200,000 families.

“The nutritional effects seem to be cumulative, becoming more apparent over time,” says Professor Jayaraman, one of the researchers.

Moreover, the program has intergenerational effects.

This means: it not only provides immediate benefits to children but also contributes to the physical growth of their OFFSPRING, addressing chronic issues like stunting which affects future generations.

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The school lunch program is not just about providing food. It’s about building a brighter future.

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With adequate nutrition, we are not just feeding the body, but also preparing a healthy mind to learn and thrive.

Within a plate of lunch lies hope and a long-term investment for a golden generation in the future.

What do you think?

Taken from Instagram Hamdan.Hamedan

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