Katmandu: China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, an international non-government organization headquartered in Beijing, has teamed up with the Lalitpur-based non-profit organization Global Cooperation for Development (GCD) to implement a nutritious meal program for public school children in Nepal.
Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal inaugurated the program at a ceremony at Shree Rudrayanee Secondary School.
“The program is very important not only to feed the students a healthy diet but also to improve their educational performance in the future,” she said while inaugurating the program on Thursday. “We are investing in the future. These children will contribute more to the country in the future when they grow up healthy.”
Speaking at the program, Zou ZhiQiang said: “CFPA has successful experience of implementing the program in China for more than a year and seven years overseas, benefitting more than 30,000 schoolchildren abroad. The program has made a substantial impact on the lives of hungry children and enhances their educational performance.”
The CFPA program in Nepal has been initiated as a model to assess the project’s suitability and the first phase of the program will benefit 1,190 schoolkids of seven public schools from Kathmandu and Lalitpur in a year, she informed.
“The organization is planning to expand the program outreach in different districts of the country in near future with more than one million USD funding to support more than 7,000 schoolchildren.”
As a large number of impoverished families have migrated to the Kathmandu Valley in search of opportunities, and their children are studying in public schools, the program is targeting to implement meal programs in public schools. “Lots of families have been pushed below the poverty line due to loss of jobs and less income, after the long-run crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to low economic conditions, those families are also found to be unable to provide sufficient meals to their children causing their inappropriate mental and physical growth,” the statement issued by the program reads.
“Sufficient and nutritious meal is essential for children of growing age, especially between 4 to 10 years of age. The program aims to fulfill nutritional requirements of school children required from school meals through the provision of additional meals in the existing meal plan of the government,” according to the statement.
“Through the implementation of the program, we anticipate improving the learning ability of school children by promoting their physical and mental well-being and excelling the attendance rate and reducing dropouts,” said Mukti Marasini, chairperson of Global Cooperation for Development (GCD).
During the pandemic, more than 12,000 schoolchildren and families were provided with basic food materials (rice, oil and pulse), under the program, he told Nepal Live Today.