about the author
Para Hunzai is a Pakistani national working with WFP in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
A high-level Chinese mission sees first-hand the difference that the school feeding programme makes in the lives of poor and vulnerable children in Cambodia.
Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia, H.E. Pan Guangxue, Tencent Foundation’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility Liu Qin, and Yang Qinghai, Deputy Secretary General from the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) headed a Chinese mission to WFP programmes in Siem Reap province recently.
The mission set out early in the morning to catch the 7 a.m. school breakfast in one of the WFP-supported schools. Ambassador Pan Guangxue and other participants took the opportunity to serve the children a nutritious breakfast consisting of rice, yellow split peas, fortified oil, salt and canned fish, enriched with vegetables from the school garden. The mission then proceeded to visit a take-home ration distribution, where children in grades 4 to 6 from poor and vulnerable families were receiving their monthly 10 kg rice ration. After following two children with take-home rations to their homes, the mission was also able to speak to their parents and see first-hand the impact of the programme.
Tencent representatives asked what the children wanted to be when they grew up. One primary school boy said, “I live in a one-bedroom house with my seven family members and we often don’t have enough to eat but I get breakfast everyday in school which helps me focus on my studies. When I grow up I want to become a teacher and buy my family a big house to live in and enough food to eat."
The mission also visited a Mother and Child Health Nutrition site where they were able to spend time with mothers and their children and understand how the provision of fortified blended food was helping them stay healthy.
Tencent Foundation became WFP’s first Chinese private sector partner in 2011. An innovative online monthly donation campaign was launched on Tencent’s charity platform. To date, Tencent users have donated US$152,000 and this figure is still mounting through continued monthly donations. Tencent’s donations are channelled through the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, which is the largest Chinese NGO focusing on lifting poeple out of poverty. The Government of China has also supported WFP programmes in Cambodia through generous multilateral allocations in 2010 and 2011.
Ambassador Pan Guangxue said “China and Cambodia have a well-established friendship and the work of WFP, CFPA and Tencent together demonstrates the great love and humanitarian spirit of Chinese people beyond their borders."
Thanks to the generous support of government and private donors like the Chinese partners, WFP and the Royal Government of Cambodia’s school feeding programme covers almost 3,000 primary schools in 12 provinces and brings the benefits of the school meals and take-home ration programmes to poor and vulnerable children across Cambodia.