I was delighted to visit this school in Chabahil , Kathmandu where CHANCE funds a ‘Tiffin Meal’ Programme at this government school. This is a joint project with our partner on the ground SHENPEN who regularly monitors this project, which started in May 2017. The project is proving really successful and the feedback from staff, parents and children is very positive. The children have a warm meal, which is given every school day at around 1.00pm from a small street food vendor around the corner from the school. Every child has a token, which they have to hand in to receive their meal, these are then counted up at the end of the week, and the money is given to the cook. On the day I visited, it was a hot rice pudding with chopped apple and a piece of fresh fruit. The menu changes daily. The energy levels of the children are increased giving sustained concentration during the afternoon. This in turn boosts the morale of the teachers, with interested and engaged children and parents happy to know their children have had something nutritious and warming. In some cases it will have been the only food the child would have eaten that day!
The school is however desperately poor.
I noticed a large water tank and asked why the children were not washing their hands after going to the toilet, or before eating. The head teacher told me there is insufficient water! The government says there is no money to get the water tank refilled. The cost of filling the water tank and providing soap for one year is £250! CHANCE has agreed to fund this secondary project so that all the children can at least whilst at school have a good standard of hygiene.
I also noticed the classrooms were barren, no books, nothing on the walls. CHANCE seized the opportunity to help here too and has pledged to donate picture books for the younger children.
The school day is split into two because of shortage of space both in school and the playground, so the school day for the seniors runs from 6.00am until 11.30am, the juniors from Kindergarten to Grade 5, runs from midday until 3.30pm and has 120 children.
The Kindergarten and Grade 1 children were really excited to each receive a knitted doll, children’s stickers and a toothbrush, which I brought out from England.