LUCY LUMBE, Lusaka
IT IS 09:40 hours at Kwenje Primary School and the bell has sounded to announce break time for the young learners.
A group of about 15 pupils boisterously make their way to the school kitchen.
Clad in their navy blue school uniforms, the pupils neatly parade themselves in a single file as they each are given coloured plastic cups for their meal – porridge.
At the kitchen entrance, two 20-litre buckets almost filled to the brim contain steamy hot hemp porridge which has just been poured out of a gigantic metallic pot.
In the school kitchen, Angela Banda and Veronica Miti are preparing another big pot of porridge. They supervised by Florence Shanzi.
A few moments later, one kitchen staffer, Vanessa Banda, emerges from the kitchen carrying a jug in her hand as she starts serving each learner porridge in their cups.
With the cups filled with porridge, the learners slowly make way to a place where they quietly have their hot morning meal before retreating for another session of class.
A few metres away, Morris Tembo and Eddie Jere are taking small sips of their porridge as they wait for it to cool off.
Morris, who is nine, says the porridge is filling and it helps him concentrate in class.
“There are times when I report for class without having my breakfast, I get very hungry in class but at least when we are given this porridge, it fills me up and helps me focus in class,” says Morris.
The little boy, who is currently in pre-grade, says he is happy to share the same meal with his friends.
Eddie, who is also in pre-school, could not hide his excitement on the provision of porridge by the school.
“We don’t carry food from home, during break time we are given this porridge as our food. They should not stop giving us this porridge because I like it,” he says, his little face beaming with excitement.
Kwenje Primary School headteacher Hildah Banda says the feeding programme at the school has helped improve the attendance rate.
“Previously we had big challenges around absenteeism, but now with the help of porridge, our teaching is more effective. No child cries of CLICK TO READ MORE
LUCY LUMBE, Lusaka