FOSTERING education through nutrition is the ethos underpinning the work of the Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organisation which provides a daily meal for orphaned and at-risk school children in South Africa, writes Estelle Sinkins.
On Tuesday, November 15, the charity received a sizable boost for its programmes in the country’s township and rural areas when Hilton College pupil, Chizembi Sakulanda, presented Dr Alison Misselhorn, director of research and strategy at the Lunchbox Fund, with a cheque for R74 100.
Hilton College’s donation will provide 28 000 meals to children for an entire year.
The money was raised through an art auction held at the Hilton Arts Festival on Saturday, September 17.
Works for the event – which was spearheaded by Chizembi (Head of school 2017), Sam Nicol and Tim Presbury, all of whom are in Grade 11 – were donated by Sharleen Boaden, Ardmore Ceramic Art, Heather Gourlay-Conynham, Jane Digby, Brent Dodd, Nicki Firth, Kathy Jacob, Sarah Kelly, Grace Kotze, Joan Martin, Lieze Meyer, Marieke Prinsloo, Vincent Reid and Sarah Richards.
Addressing staff and pupils at the school’s final assembly in the theatre, Misselhorn said poverty in South Africa had a direct effect on whether or not children attended school.
“One of the challenges parents have is providing food for their children, so they sometimes don’t go to school on the days that parents don’t have food to give them,” she added. “Without food children cannot concentrate and are tired … [and] when you think that 50 percent of the country lives in poverty, you start to get an idea of the scale of the problem we have.”
Through the efforts of the Lunchbox Fund, around 16 000 children are assured of a hot meal every day. “Having a full tummy means these children are able to concentrate on their lessons and gives their parents an incentive to send them to school,” Misselhorn said.
The food programme is especially beneficial for children in creches and early childhood development centres, she said adding: “The stunting from malnutrition becomes fixed if it is not addressed before the age of six.”
To find out more about the Lunchbox Fund email firstname.lastname@example.org