At Mothering Across Continents, hunger is one of five issues that we focus on as part of our overall mission of “Adopting Dreams. Raising Tomorrow’s Leaders.” Since our overall focus is education for orphans, vulnerable and at-risk children, we know from experience that hungry children don’t learn well wherever they are in the world.
With Hunger Action Month underway, we think of some of the amazing Mothering Across Continents project catalysts and collaborators that have developed innovative approaches to hunger and nutrition in very challenging circumstances.
Our first project launched in 2007 was “Caring Schools,” a partnership with Save the Children South Africa, to develop an innovative pilot providing daily nutritious meals and sustainable gardens at three impoverished high schools serving nearly 700 children in the community of Qwa Qwa, in Free State, South Africa. At the time, daily meals were available in South African primary schools, but not high schools, and a consulting report indicated wide variation in the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of meals programs across schools. Against these measures, the pilot was successful, but when we asked Caring Schools project leader Melinda Van Zyl to reflect on the experience, she suggested a different standard for success. She said the truly lasting benefits are knowledge gained by students and parents about nutrition and communication skills they developed to advocate for expansion of the program.