Naaima, 11, raises her hand to answer the teacher’s question during an Arabic lesson in Beni Hana School in Beni Suef, Upper Egypt. One of the brightest students in her class, Naaima says she wants to be a medical doctor. In Egypt, around 370,000 children and their family members benefit from WFP’s school meals project in 11 of the poorest southern governorates such as Beni Suef, Menia, Sohag, Qena and Assiut.
WFP school meals projects in Egypt encourage girls’ education, help dropouts complete their primary education and combat child labour benefiting both boys and girls. (From Left) Mawa, Suheir and her brother Mahmoud are engrossed over a puzzle in a WFP games book that teaches school children to eat the right foods for their bodies and minds.
During the school day, children receive a daily snack of nutritious biscuits stuffed with date paste. The locally produced biscuits are enriched with iron and vitamin A to improve children's performance and ability to concentrate during class. Some children say the mid-morning snack is usually the first thing they eat during the day.
The daily snack addresses around 25 percent of the child’s daily nutritional needs. Research has shown that the right food at the right time, especially in early childhood, ensures good mental and physical growth and has a long reach into later life.
Najat, six, munches her daily snack during a school day in Beni Suef in Upper Egypt. Najat's family also receive a monthly take-home ration of rice and either wheat flour or vegetable oil as an incentive to send their daughter to school.
Ahmed, 10, is in grade four and says he is lucky to have the opportunity to go to school while his family gets the help they need. Poor families often resort to sending their children off to work for the added income they badly need. The food ration's value compensates for the extra money a child would bring home if sent to work. Thanks to interventions like these, Ahmed could dream of becoming a science teacher one day.
Students at Al Tahoon School in Fayoum, one of the government's Girls Education Initiative schools in Upper Egypt. WFP's school meals supports the governments' efforts to encourage girls' education and combat early marriages in some of the poorest Egyptian governorates. Boys attend those schools as well especially since most of them are located in small villages where they are the only nearby school.
4 June 2013 Poverty And Food Insecurity In Egypt On The Rise