Meal Matters

The Fortify Education Foundation (FEF) launched its School Meal Programme in Karachi in February 2020. It is now providing free meals to about 515 children in underprivileged schools.

By Mahmood Nanji | April 2022

If you had all the money in the world or had very little, but still you wanted to invest in a worthwhile cause, where should you start?

I would invest in children; I would provide them the means to learn, to grow mentally and physically, and to enable them to protect their own and their family’s future.

In Pakistan, about 34% of our children are under the age of 15. They are the future, but are they strong? No, they are not. Is their future secure? No, it is not.

In a study carried out by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Pakistan (GOP), Pakistan is one of the countries with the highest rate of malnutrition and undernourishment. Another study of the nutritional status of children of 5-15 years of age in urban slums, says about 38.3% children are suffering from stunting problems, 28.5% wasting away from hunger, and around 17.5% are simply underweight.

Research has clearly shown that nutritional status can directly affect mental capacity among school-aged children, inhibiting their cognitive abilities and mental concentration. There are also studies showing that improvements in nutrition levels can influence the intelligence levels of school-aged children. Therefore, proper nutrition is not only critical to children’s health and well-being, it has a very positive impact on children’s learning too.

At the Fortify Education Foundation (FEF), we have set out to combat the menace of malnutrition in Pakistan. Through our School Meal Programme (SMP), we feed the children who are in school to learn and achieve but are affected due to hunger. We provide them the nourishment and motivation they need to pursue an education to secure their future.

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