Legendary Chinese Olympic gymnast, Mr. Li Ning, and representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture will witness at first hand the distribution of WFP food donated by China to mothers and children at the Ha Makhoathi village health centre and orphans.
The donation is part of the Government of China’s $4.5 million contribution, made in response to a global appeal by WFP to address the hardships created by high food and fuel prices. In Lesotho, the Chinese contribution purchased 1,336 tons of maize meal from local farmers, enabling WFP to feed 75,000 beneficiaries over 3 months.
“As an athlete, I know how important good nutrition is for healthy growth. As a father, I know that children need all our care and support. I’m really touched by the work that WFP is doing here for kids affected by HIV,” said Mr Li Ning. “For 26 years, WFP has helped poor farmers and their families in China to be able to feed themselves. It’s wonderful to see that China is now able to help other countries do the same,” he added.
The ceremony held in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, was attended by the Chinese delegation, Lesotho’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and WFP’s representatives in Lesotho. WFP’s Country Representative in Lesotho, Mr Bhim Udas, thanked the Government of China for its generous donation: “We are very grateful for this support, which both helps poor families and assists local agriculture.”
WFP started its protracted relief and recovery operation in May 2008, focusing on food assistance for poor families in remote, mountainous areas. WFP aims to distribute 9,049 tons of food to 155,000 vulnerable people in Lesotho each year until the end of the operation in December 2010.
WFP also supports the Government of Lesotho in providing two free meals a day (morning porridge and lunch) to 80,483 pupils in 478 primary schools located in remote and economically disadvantaged highland and mountainous regions of the country.
In the coming days, the Chinese delegation will visit WFP food distribution sites at St Leo Ha Makoathi St Leo Health Center, Matlameng Health Center and Phelisanong Orphanage.
“The Chinese government highly appreciates the humanitarian work carried out by the WFP, and conducts effective cooperation with the WFP,” said Ms. Yao Xiangjun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation at the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, which provided the contribution to WFP.