Daniel, 9, is one of 10 children in a Burundian family. His mother, Capitoline, has no money for food, medicine, or clothes.
“If we are lucky, we eat. If we are not lucky, we go to bed hungry,” Capitoline explains.
‘I can worry about less mouths to feed’
Capitoline’s despair turned to relief when some of her children began receiving lunch through a school feeding project, supported by World Vision and the World Food Program.
“It helps that my children get rice and beans from school; then I can worry about less mouths to feed. Also, I know that they will not starve,” she says.
Daniel doesn’t miss a day of school at Ngogomo, where he attends with three of his siblings. “I love the rice, because it gives me the energy to stay and study in class,” he says. “When I eat at school, even if there is no food back home, I can last until the next day.”
Daniel eats half of his school meal and carries half home to share with his siblings, particularly his 2-year-old sister.
School: More than a learning center
Many children are flocking to these schools in order to get their only meal of the day: beans and micronutrient-fortified rice.
“School is more than just a learning center — it is a feeding center,” explains Godfrey, a head teacher at Ngogomo Elementary School.
Dr. Jean Hatsindimana, a nutrition expert for World Vision in Burundi, is very pleased with the impact of the feeding program.
“If they did not have this…they would not have the energy to stay in class and learn,” he says. “If we stopped feeding the children with this nutritious rice, you will not find them in school.”
For Daniel, school is food and a future. “I come to school to learn so that one day I can become a teacher,” he says.