Durban — As the ongoing National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) crisis in KwaZulu-Natal approaches its third week, Citizen Leader Lab has said that learners going hungry affects their ability to concentrate on their schoolwork.
Citizen Leader Lab, a non-profit organisation that uses innovative leadership-development models to develop leaders who can catalyse positive change in their communities and broader society, responded to the crisis of children in KZN public schools who are not receiving food via the NSNP for the third week.
It said the NSNP was designed to provide one nutritious meal a day to children attending 5 400 quintiles 1 to 3 (non-fee-paying) schools in the province.
“These learners often rely on this single meal, and since the start of this term 10 days ago, a breakdown in the process has resulted in many learners going hungry.
“This has had severe implications for their ability to concentrate on their lessons, and many have had to be sent home. This has placed enormous pressure on families, many of whom are struggling to survive,” Citizen Leader Lab said.
But there is hope. In the face of this catastrophe to KZN’s most vulnerable children and their families, ordinary South Africans have rallied to feed the children, it said:
- We honour the many parents who have again been forced to go without so their children could eat.
- We honour the many citizens, particularly in KZN, who have courageously attempted to bridge the gap between the government and the schools, and have donated funds and food to feed our children.
- We honour the many school principals and their staff who have dug into their own pockets to feed the children at their schools.
- We honour the NPOs that have mobilised their volunteers and donors to collect and distribute food.
- We honour uMngeni Municipality for matching rand-for-rand whatever citizens donate up to a maximum of R70 000.
“At the same time, we denounce in the strongest possible terms the actions of South Africans among us who have stolen food from the mouths of our children… Your actions are deplorable,” Citizen Leader Lab said.
It urged people who want to get involved and trigger uMngeni Municipality’s rand-for-rand matching of your donation, you can donate via EFT to Love Howick NPC: FNB Cheque Account: 627 747 27 039. Please reference your payment with the word “Food”, and e-mail proof of payment to [email protected].
Last week, uMngeni Municipality announced that it would be partnering with local NGOs to support the school nutrition programme in their area.
The municipality said it identified several NGOs with experience in providing meals during times of emergency, and would be partnering with them to ensure that these learners have access to nutritious meals.
The municipality also committed to working with the Department of Education to find long-term solutions to ensure the sustainable provision of nutritious meals to all learners in the area.
“The municipality has pledged R1 for every R1 raised by civil society (with a maximum cap). These funds have been identified as part of the municipality’s disaster response budget. In total, the municipality will spend R70 000 to support this dire situation,” the municipality said.
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