Millions of pupils enjoy breakfast initiative

2017-05-03 06:00
A Nichols Junior Primary pupil has a healthy breakfast.PHOTO: supplied

A Nichols Junior Primary pupil has a healthy breakfast.PHOTO: supplied

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NEARLY 5000 pupils in five disadvantaged schools in KwaZulu-Natal will receive a healthy breakfast every school day as Pioneer Foods this week rolled out its schools breakfast nutrition programme in the province.

The programme already feeds more than 21 000 pupils throughout 25 schools in the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West, Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Free State. Nichols Junior Primary in Edendale is one of the schools which benefitted.

Pioneer Foods started the schools breakfast nutrition programme in 2015 to provide disadvantaged school pupils with a healthy breakfast comprising of a selection of cereals such as ProNutro, Bokomo Corn Flakes, White Star Instant porridge, as well as catering equipment, long life milk and aprons for the food handlers. This ensures pupils have at least one wholesome meal a day and are able to concentrate on their schoolwork.

“With an estimated 14 million South Africans going to bed hungry every day, food security is one of the most important challenges facing our country,” said Nico Moloto, stakeholder and sustainability manager at Pioneer Foods.

“As one of South Africa’s leading food companies, and the biggest player within the breakfast category, it is our responsibility to focus our social investment where it has the biggest impact in alleviating hunger on a sustainable basis”.

“I’m very excited to introduce the programme to KwaZulu-Natal schools,” said Moloto, “We are not only providing breakfast, we are nourishing lives and thereby empowering these children to fully utilise the education they are receiving to secure their own food for the future”.

This project is in keeping with Pioneer Foods’ commitment to shared value. “We adhere to policies that drive our competitiveness, while also enhancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which we operate,” explains Moloto.

Pioneer Foods’ schools breakfast feeding programme complements the Department of Basic Education’s National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) which provides lunch to nearly 10 000 000 pupils in 21 177 schools annually.

Acting Chief Education Specialist (NSNP Umgingundlovu District) at the KZN Department of Basic Education, Linda Dlomo says that the initiative will help with punctuality at the schools, because the pupils will want to take part in the breakfast meal. “We want to applaud the initiative by Pioneer Foods in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, to come up with such a breakthrough to help our pupils,” and quoting the Bible: “Sibusisiwe isandla esiphayo, kunesamkelayo” (Blessed is the hand that gives).

“It has been rewarding to hear from the schools where the programme has been running how absenteeism is down and that the pupils are eager to come to school on time. Education is key to our country’s socio-economic future, and by ensuring that learners are able to concentrate on their studies, it empowers them to achieve their full potential and we look forward to receiving similar feedback from these schools in KwaZulu-Natal.” said Moloto.

School breakfast nutrition programme fact sheet

•The Schools Breakfast Nutrition Programme is one of Pioneer Foods’ key CSI projects. The project currently provides breakfast meals to 21 450 pupils every day in 25 schools across the following the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West and Free State.

•Today sees the launch of the programme in KZN, specifically in the Pietermaritzburg area. The KZN programme will see about 5 000 schoolchildren receive a nutritious breakfast every school day.

•KZN schools in the programme:

Imbubu Primary School, Sweetwaters (853 pupils)

Nichols JP, Edendale (936 pupils)

Albert Falls, Crammond (1030 pupils)

Ndabikhona Primary, Richmond (968 pupils)

Emafakatini Primary, Emafakatini Location (983 pupils)

•The Department of Basic Education’s National Schools Nutrition Programme, aims to enhance the learning capacity of pupils through the provision of a healthy meal at schools. Where it is implemented, the programme has shown to improve punctuality, regular school attendance, concentration and the general well being of participating pupils.

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