Yudelka Paola Martínez, a second-grade student at San Roque School in the mountains of Matagalpa, enjoys rice, beans, tortilla, soy meat with vegetables and micronutrient-fortified corn-soy blend, as a mid-morning hot meal that WFP provides through the Ministry of Education. Some 64 pre-school and primary students attend this school, and for most of them this is the only meal they will eat during the day.
"At break time, the children make a queue in front of the kitchen waiting for their meal. Once they have eaten, they become happy and more involved in the lessons" said Johana Jirón López, the first and second grade teacher of San Roque school.
Daily, from Monday to Friday, two mothers go to school: not to learn but to prepare the meals. This is the turn of Martha Lorena Martínez and Nora Escobar. When the household budget permits, parents add nutritional supplements such as cheese and vegetables for their children.
Liz María Ubeda, from the WFP office in Matagalpa (right, in black polo shirt) accompanies the pre-school teacher and the students during break time. Once fed, children concentrate better on their lessons and are more active.
Three years ago, there were no schools in San Roque. TNT, an international express and mail delivery services company, financially contributed to the construction of two classrooms and a kitchen that it is also used as a store room. The school was constructed with labor and land donated from the parents. This humble home served some time as a classroom for the school children.
Hidden between the coffee bushes, the small school at San Roque is located in the center of this mountainous community. Children attending pre-school are happy to use the materials and furniture provided by others cooperation agencies.
Despite the community efforts, the needs are still too many. The school has only two multi-grade classrooms, one for preschool, first and second grade, and another room for third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade. There are only two teachers for the 64 students.