Plates4days programme – alleviating food insecurity in SA universities
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THE nutrition programme supports more than 4 500 students annually from nine campuses across six universities in South Africa.
The food hampers are designed to sustain recipients for a full month while they live and learn on campus. With the increasing cost for a basic food basket, the nutrition programme provides basic dietary staples. Students who are selected must be registered with a university to ensure that the programme is fair and reaches those who would benefit from it.
“Over the past year we have experienced social and economic hardships beyond comprehension. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted many lives, communities and industries. It is during these challenging times that the Plates4days programme has become even more essential in our fight to help alleviate the pressures that many of our food insecure youth face,” says Mary-Jane Morifi, Tiger Brands’ chief corporate affairs officer.
“Hunger is not just the empty feeling in your stomach, it’s also the feeling that defines your ability to focus and succeed. When I first came to UJ my bursary allowances were delayed, which meant that I had to attend classes on an empty stomach,” says Plates4Days recipient Zakhele Mtshali, who is a third-year Bachelor of Education student at UJ.
“Tiger Brands’ Plates4Days Programme changed my situation dramatically. I was now part of a connected group of students and no longer had to worry about where my next meal would come from. It allowed me to channel all my focus on my studies and grades improved drastically,” he said.
The following universities are supported by Plates4Days nutrition programme:
- University of Johannesburg.
- University of the Witwatersrand.
- Nelson Mandela University.
- University of the Free State.
“We strive to work with more universities across the country in the future. These partnerships are critical to the ongoing success, and expansion, of this programme. It addresses a critical need in our society: food security and provisions for those who need it most. We need to act together as a civil society to help not only the youth, but our country, to weather the times and emerge stronger, more resilient, nourished and empowered,” Morifi said.