Free School Lunch Program
"Where there is hunger there is no hope"
Along with our 120 resident boys and girls we provide completely free education to over 100 children from our community’s poorest families – families that are unable to afford public school fees. Over the years we have seen that many of these children struggle in class because they are arriving at Imizi hungry, having had little or no breakfast. Many of them also get little to eat at home during the school lunch break. Although we recognized the effect their hunger was having on their performance and attendance, we unfortunately lacked the resources to help these children until recently.
In September 2019 we began a school feeding program where we provide a big, nutritious lunch to each and every one of our students daily, and we witnessed a big impact almost immediately. Since implementing the program we’ve seen attendance increase dramatically and grades among those students have risen as well. These children simply have more energy in the classroom, and that means paying more attention to their teachers and engaging more with their lessons.
However, it is not only the students who are benefiting from this program, their families are as well. Several parents have told us that their children are more enthusiastic than ever about going to school each day, which makes their parents’ lives easier. We’ve also been told that the food we provide their children takes some of the financial and emotional pressure off of the parents who struggle to provide regular meals to their children each day. We are not just helping the kids, we are providing some relief to very poor families in the process.
Josephine (pictured above) struggled in class each day due to hunger. Since she started receiving free lunches at Imizi her grades increased and she hasn’t missed a single day of school, and her teacher says she is much more active and attentive. Her mother visited us recently and told us that as a very poor single parent the free lunches not only help Josephine’s performance, they take away some of the pressure and guilt she feels for not being able to provide enough food for her daughter every day.
Now that we see the value this new program has for both our students and their families, ROP is committed to providing this service for many years to come. However, it is an expensive program, averaging approximately $1,300 each month, so we need your help to keep it going. So please consider making a donation to help us continue providing healthy meals, as well as education and so many other life-changing services, to the Rwanda’s vulnerable children.