The Pre-school education and nutrition program in Thukutha Village was intitiated in July 2011. Over the passing of time, this programme has been the most sustainable and impactful to the community. Despite numerous challenges, our partner in Malawi (WHEAMS) has continue to help 31 households and their social networks to help put food on their table. In the period of January to March 2018, the registered number of children receiving nutritious porridge has been 95, which is a drop from numbers higher than 110! Our partners report that there have been times when the numbers exceeded 110 pre-school children, something that they viewed as unsustainable numbers. The drop has been encouraging, as families have been increasingly able to feed their own children at home.
A significant challenge to maintaining a sustainable number of children in the programme is that once the children “Graduate” to government funded primary schools, a considerable number continue to come to the programme to get the nutritious breakfast. In addition, the quality of basic education being offered continued to surpass that of public and private schools around the area. If it were not for the number of teachers (3) we could have bowed to outside pressure to allow children from outside the village to be enrolled.
In March 2018, the District Education Manager was invited as a guest of honour and spoke highly of the quality of education being offered by WHEAMS. He was quoted as to say: “… what I have seen and heard about your education is testimony enough that WHEAMS has surpassed the set educational standards by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology… you are assured of Government support through my office for any issues to do with policy and legislature, especially when you desire to develop into a fully-fledged primary school, something all of us in government are looking forward to …”
This report shows the importance of linking good nutrition to sustainable education practices! If children are not able to attend school with a full belly, it creates a challenge to learning! WHI are encouraged by this report, and are excited to see the clear link between health and education.