Feeding Hungry Minds And Bodies

February 15, 2017 5:36 pm Published by

Editor’s Note: Thanks to the development of JBFC’s permaculture farm, not only are our students receiving meals twice a day, but they are also getting essential proteins and vitamins from the beans and vegetables grown on our very own campus.

As long as I can remember, I have always gone to school with either a PB&J sandwich and sliced apples or some money for lunch at the cafeteria. But if you attend a government school in Tanzania, those luxuries simply don’t exist. Government schools do not provide any form of meals for their students and many families cannot afford to send their children with food. Tanzania has always struggled with child malnutrition, specifically in rural areas.

The average daily income for a Tanzanian is still under $2 a day, and the average number of children per woman in rural areas is about 6.3 compared to 3.6 children in urban areas. In other words, rural families have more family members to feed with roughly the same daily income. This ultimately leads to a higher rate of malnutrition in rural settings, which is one reason why JBFC focuses on addressing rural poverty. 
JBFC recognizes that if children are to spend 8 hours a day at school, food must be provided for not only their physical growth, but educational growth. After all, who can concentrate when they are hungry? For this reason, JBFC’s schools provide both breakfast and lunch every day to all of its students, and have done so since opening in 2010.

Through different volunteer groups, JBFC has monitored the Body Mass Index (BMI) of its students, as well as students who attend the local government school located just down the road. The government school does not provide meals like JBFC. By taking the numbers that we have recorded thus far, and comparing them to the CDC’s healthy children and teen’s BMI chart, we can calculate how many of the total students from each school fall within the unhealthy range.

We are very proud to state that the percentage of Joseph and Mary students who are unhealthy is 22.7%. That is almost 4% lower than the 26.6% unhealthy percentage at the government school. This may not seem like a lot, but it is an incredible step in the right direction for JBFC’s students. 
While we are very fortunate to have the ability to support our students and continue to help them lead healthier lives, we also believe that every school and family should be able to provide food for their children. That is why we have reached out to support our neighboring government school to help design a school garden. This garden not only helps to bring in extra food for the school, but it also teaches the students different farming methods which could help their families increase crop yields, and ultimately lower the percentage of malnourished children in the entire community.

Guest Blogger, Travis Purser, is JBFC’s Expansion Coordinator in the U.S. Travis worked as the Guest Coordinator and Campus Director in Tanzania in 2014-2015. 

Categorized in: , ,

This post was written by Mainsprings