With the biting drought affecting learning in Kajiado, there is hope for over 5,000 students after Light Up Hope Foundation through its partnership with Tuungane Community Foundation launched a school feeding programme.
The program targets 12 primary schools in Kajiado Central and will see over 5,000 students benefit from a free feeding programme.
Speaking during the launch of the program, Kelly Shaughnessy, the president of the Light Up Hope Foundation said that the organization endeavors to address the education barrier as the root course of poverty.
“This is being done through offering education scholarships, school feeding programs, and community empowerment targeting the most deserving in the society we serve,” said Shaughnessy.
Moses Ignatius, the Executive Director of Tuungane Community Foundation said that students being well-fed means good health, good concentration in class, and realization of the ultimate goal of good performance in school.
He remarked that their decision to choose Kajiado as the beneficiary was informed by the poverty index as per the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
Ignatius said that through the funds from donors, they hope to cover more schools in Kajiado as they have already seen the impact it has had and the dire need for food in Kajiado.
Jeremiah ole Ncharo, the county executive committee member for education has lauded the light of hope foundation for the initiative saying it has brought hope to the children of Kajiado.
“Malnutrition levels are currently high in Kajiado given the ravaging drought and children are collapsing in schools due to hunger. Your coming is timely,” said Ole Ncharo
Ole Ncharo urged the foundation to help the county by also providing fortified porridge for the Early Childhood Development students.
Kajiado Education Director, Kosgei Kipruto echoed Ncharo’s sentiments and urged the foundation to consider enrolling more schools into the program as the 12 selected are just a drop in the ocean.
Leonard Nyota, head teacher of Moipei Primary School, one of the beneficiaries, said that school absenteeism cases have really reduced. He revealed that the students had been complaining of headaches and when probed, they revealed that they hadn’t eaten for days.
“Ever since the feeding program begun, students have not complained of headaches and are fully concentrating in class unlike before,” said Nyota, adding that parents are now enrolling younger children in school since there is no food at home but it is available in school.
Mary Marasua, the head teacher of AIC Namanga primary says that she is grateful for the program as students in her school have increased from 650 to 900 learners ever since the feeding program started on September 1st.
The school menu includes maize and beans, an egg, and fruit for all the students in the beneficiary schools.
Light up Hope Foundation started its operations in Kenya in 2012. Their feeding program started in 2018 and is currently supporting 7,296 students with 5,020 being from Kajiado county and 2,276 from Nairobi County.
Apart from the feeding program, the foundation also offers scholarships to secondary school girls and university scholarships to the top performers among the high school program beneficiaries.
By Diana Meneto