With Funding From Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education Youth and Sport officially introduced its School Meal Program- a feeding program that is being funded fully by the Ministry. Three schools in the Stann Creek and Belize Districts will benefit from the program in its initial stage. According to Dr. Candy Armstrong, Education Officer, the feeding program is in line with the Ministry’s national goals including the eradication of poverty and hunger and the reduction of the dropout rate in schools.
"The Ministry of Education School Feeding Program is responsive to the concerns regarding the number of children attending school who have not yet had a meal and those who miss school due to hunger or other nutrition related problems and those who attend school but cannot participate in learning because they are hungry. In addition, each school meals program supports national development and is consistent in many of our national goals. These include Horizon 2030, Pillar Two, Strategy Four, develop education support services and systems and expand School feeding programs. There are 2 school feeding programs in the Belize district. One program serves all students of the Belize Rural Primary School in Belize River Valley and the other serves selected beneficiaries of 13 schools on the south side of Belize City. The meals for the Belize Rural Primary School are being prepared on-site at the school cafeteria for 3 locations: Double Head Cabbage, Flowers Bank and Rancho Dolores. The meals for the students of Bermudian Landing are being prepared off site and delivered to the school. The meals for the south side feeding program are being prepared and packaged here at the Skills Training Centre and being delivered to 700 selected students on the south side of Belize City. These schools include Calvary Temple School, Friends Boys School, Grace Primary School, Living Hope Proprietary School, Muslim School, Queen's Squares Anglican School, Salvation Army School , St. Ignatius School, St. Luke's Methodist School, St. Martin's De Porres School, Unity Presbyterian School, Wesley Upper School and the Skills Training Centre."
The meals for the South Side School Meal program are packaged at the Skills Training Center and delivered to 700 selected students from 13 schools spread across South Side Belize City. According to the Principal of Saint Ignatius, Lureen Ciego, the feeding program has significantly impacted the lives of a number of students.
HON. PATRICK FABER
"Am happy to be here to officially launch this morning, the South Side School Meals Program; it is something that has long been coming, that we should have a nationwide school feeding program and while it is not nationwide just yet, I hope that this initiative and of course, the others including the one that we will launch tomorrow in Dangriga as you heard Doctor Candy say and one that is on-going in the Belize River Valley where we feed all the children in the Rural Primary School. All of these initiatives, we hope and of course the tremendous amount of help and assistance that we give to existing feed programs across the country, we are hoping it's making a serious dent in terms of getting our children a strong foundation and a good solid start so that they can perform and develop and that is exactly what this program and this initiative is all about: helping our children to be able to get what they need in their body so that they are able then to focus on their education that is often very difficult to do especially if you're hungry and all of us can relate to that. So we are very proud, in fact, that we are offering these nutritious meals. We are very pleased that we have good, nutritious but also delicious meals being offered here in this program."
Minister of Education Youth and Sports, Patrick Faber, says that in the Belize and Stann Creek District the feeding program is assisting approximately 1,500 needy students at a cost of about half a million dollars. Faber says the Ministry’s next step is to further develop and expand the program to other districts.
The School Meals Program for the Stann Creek District will be introduced in Dangriga on Wednesday. Reporting for Love News Hipolito Novelo