Solidarity Canteen Project
In Mandaug, school absenteeism due to lack of food is a sad reality.
The wealthier students can go home for lunch or bring their “baon”, a Tupperware containing a bit of rice and a simple side dish. Not all of their daily needs are met, but this minimum intake allows them to ensure a physical and intellectual presence that every schoolchild in the world should be able to afford.
Nevertheless, for the most deprived, hunger makes them go home because it remains unsatisfied. And if they don’t, they are unable to concentrate, which greatly affects their schooling.
Unfortunately, this is a general observation throughout the archipelago. Many students are undernourished and/or malnourished due to a lack of means from their families, if not, in some extreme cases, due to the absence of a family to look after them.
For others, (too) early solicited in daily life, they have to go away regularly to work with their parents in the rice fields or stay at home to look after their brothers and sisters. The Philippines, in addition to being a very poor country, is predominantly very Catholic, which limits the use of family planning, with obvious consequences on the incoherent size of some families in comparison to their means.
At the beginning of the school year, the DepEd (Department of Education, equivalent to the French Education Nationale) requires that each student be weighed and measured in order to know his or her body mass index. They are thus put into a physical category in order to be able to look after those who really need help, the “wasted” or even “severely wasted”. These are the terms used by the government. “wasted”, almost unrecoverable. When they can, these children come to school on an empty stomach, because the law requires them to attend elementary school, but they will very rarely make it through the day, let alone the year. The government provides daily assistance to the school to enable teachers to buy food for their children. Each student receives 16 Philippine pesos a day for a hot meal, which is about 24 cents. This is enough to make rice and some vegetables, as meat and fish are very expensive. This aid is a godsend, but unfortunately it only lasts 50 days, or 1/4 of the school year (about 200 days in total). A duration largely insufficient.
Based on this feedback from the team who worked as volunteers in the Mandaug school in July 2019, Ecoliers des Philippines wishes to adapt to this reality by helping the school to build a “feeding center” and by paying a monthly food aid so that it can provide lunch to the students who are most in need, and this throughout the school year. Our first Solidarity Canteen will be built in Mandaug!
The operation is based on voluntary work by parents who do not work. At the beginning of the school year, a list of volunteer parents is drawn up and a weekly rotation is set up. The aid paid by the association will therefore be entirely used for food.
Today, regular donations can already cover 90% of these expenses. We are looking for some donors who could complement this aid. With 10€ per month, 30 meals can be provided to the most undernourished children.
Our association’s mission is to ensure that the most important needs of the schools we have decided to support are met. Fighting hunger that prevents children from going to school is therefore a priority for us this year. And we will do our best to alleviate this problem, because every child has the right to go to school without feeling hungry, and to have the energy to be a child.
We are counting on you!