WFP has thanked Japanese football star Hidetoshi Nakata for donating soccer balls to Banteay Srei Primary School in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
I hope that one day, there will be a Cambodian Nakata who will reach international fame thanks to our school feeding programme.
Nakata visited the school last week with WFP, which provides hot meals to 830 students there.
Nakata retired after the World Cup in Germany this year, and since then has been traveling to different countries, including locations with people in need, to see the world in various perspectives.
“These soccer balls and WFP’s breakfast programme will make this school even more attractive for children to continue their education. I hope that one day, there will be a Cambodian Nakata who will reach international fame thanks to our school feeding programme,” said Thomas J. Keusters, WFP Country Director for Cambodia.
Cambodia has the second lowest rate of adult literacy in the Asia region. More than half of all students – some 55 percent – do not complete primary school.
Moreover 10 percent of boys and 16 percent of girls aged between 6 and 11 years are unable to attend school at all because they work to support their families, helping with household chores, or caring for sick and elderly family members.
Improving attention span
Food-for-Education is one of WFP Cambodia’s largest activities, improving not only the nutritional status of Cambodian rural children but also their attention span in class.
It also acts as a strong incentive to bring children to school and keep them there. About 600,000 primary school students in more than 1,500 schools benefit directly from WFP’s school meals.
However, a lack of donations has forced WFP to cut the amount of food given to thousands of students since October 2006. WFP Cambodia has warned that unless fresh contributions are made soon, more students will be left hungry.