On their first visit to Bangladesh, a Chinese delegation visited two slum schools in Dhaka with WFP to see School Feeding Programme.
The five-member delegation, representing the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, were sent to observe current development efforts and opportunities for future partnerships in developing countries around the world. Bangladesh was their first stop on a tour around Asia.
During the trip, the delegates visited WFP's Dhaka office, where they met with Country Representative Christa Räder and were given a presentation by Mei Liu, Head of Social Safety Nets at WFP Bangladesh. The aim of the meeting was to get an overview of WFP's operations in Bangladesh.
The next day, all wearing bright blue WFP caps, they made their way through Dhaka’s West Bhasantek ‘Number 4’ slum, on the outskirts of Mirpur, to visit a BRAC school that receives support from WFP’s School Feeding Programme. Upon arrival at the single-room, tin scructure school, they were greeted with flowers from enthusiastic children.
The camaraderie amongst the 33 students was clear for everyone to see. They have been studying together for a year and will continue as a group for the next four years until they finish their primary education. Their teacher, Papia Akhtar, known as ‘Poppy’, shared their enthusiasm.
Before the Chinese Delegation distributed biscuits to the children, Poppy asked them if anyone had skipped breakfast that morning. At least half of the students raised their hands. All of the students live in the slum and most of their parents are very poor, working as rickshaw pullers or day laborers, ekeing out a living that generally provides only one or two meals a day for the family.
Poppy explained that, for these families, the WFP fortified biscuits make a huge difference. She said the children really look forward to them and that they seem livelier and fall sick less often.
And the biscuits were certainly popular. The children gobbled them up in no time and their energy levels definitely increased. One after another the students got up to recite poems, act out skits, and in a grand finale, four girls danced and sang with gusto while their fellow students clapped and cheered them on. After a round of applause, the visitors thanked the school for receiving them and bid the students farewell.