Nourishing young growing minds is more than a vision for the Tiger Brands Foundation; it is the model of an in-school breakfast feeding programme implemented at non-fee paying schools.
Director of the Tiger Brands Foundation, Kelvin Glen reports the high level of poverty and lack of proper nutrition is well documented and the government initiative needs the support of corporate South Africa. “Too many children throughout South Africa arrive at school hungry and they are unable to concentrate resulting in poor academic performance. Good nutrition and education is the cornerstone for these children to break the cycle of poverty and to reach their full potential” said Mr Glen.
The Tiger Brands Foundation was established as one of the channels through which we invest in our communities. Its primary focus is to improve the lives of learners attending non-fee paying schools by providing breakfast to complement the existing government lunchtime meals. As director of the Foundation, Glen launched a pilot project on 25 July 2011 providing breakfast to 6866 learners across 6 primary schools in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg.
The pilot investment included the installation of three state-of-the art industrial container kitchens, training food handlers on all 6 sites in food preparation, health and safety, hygiene and, the project further created opportunities for 12 out of school youth “school monitors”.
One of the highlights in the first quarter is the partnership developed with the National Department of Basic Education (National Schools Nutrition Programme) and this is evidenced in the Memorandum of Agreement between the Department and the Tiger Brands Foundation. The MoA is the first of its kind and forms an essential component to the current and future plans for the Foundation. In collaboration with the NSNP team, the impact and effect of the feeding programmes will be developed to give children the opportunity to learn and grow.
Mr Glen further commented “As a public private partnership, the MoA serves as an excellent model to expand into more diverse partnerships between the government and the corporate sector working to achieve a common goal in addressing the vulnerable and disadvantaged in our country. It is possible to make a significant difference and our millionth breakfast proves what can be accomplished in a short space of time”.
With the start of the new school year, the Tiger Brands Foundation is now operating in 33 schools across 4 provinces serving breakfast to almost 30 000 primary school learners, educators, staff and school monitors. In addition, 11 new kitchens are being installed to create a more hygienic and efficient system to prepare the meals for the learners.
Says Glen; “2012 promises to be a rewarding year for our team. We have already achieved an incredible milestone – 1 million breakfast meals served in just 107 days. To improve the lives of vulnerable school children and their surrounding communities by creating sustainable, replicable programmes focused on nutrition and education has enormous value to both the children and our society in general.
To quote Mother Teresa, ‘If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one’ and it is my hope that more companies will actively engage in the merit of feeding programmes”.
Contact Kelvin Glen at The Tiger Brands Foundation on 011 840 4794 or email Kelvin.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.