The Foundation earmarked Alexandra Township as the ideal area in which to implement a pilot breakfast feeding programme (at 6 primary schools) in July 2011 to address the challenges faced by the schools in Alexandra. The pilot was soon extended to include all 13 primary schools in Alex as it is a busy, significantly over-populated township with very poor infrastructure to service the residents.
Maintenance of services is very difficult, at times impossible, owing to the unplanned growth and densely congested informal settlements and backyard shacks. It is estimated almost a million people live in Alexandra with poor services, poor environmental conditions, and in danger from flooding.
The primary schools in this area are filled to capacity with little space for growth in terms of infrastructure or the inclusion of play/sports areas. As a result, the Tiger Brands Foundation funded and installed 10 state-of-the-art kitchen containers at schools where there were inadequate facilities. The kitchens have made a substantial contribution to the smooth preparation and serving of both the breakfast and government lunch – no small feat considering the schools have an average of 1200 pupils.
With the introduction of the in-school breakfast, principals have noted the following;
- Late-coming and absenteeism has dropped significantly;
- General health of the learners has improved (learners seldom purchase unhealthy snacks from street vendors);
- In-school breakfast gives the learners a sense of pride in their school and it has encouraged ownership of the programme by the school and its community;
- Social skills and interaction between learners and educators has developed well;
- Taxis transporting learners to school make a concerted effort to have learners at school on time to share the breakfast.
With the high levels of unemployment, child-headed households and families infected/affected by HIV and AIDS, the in-school breakfast combined with the government lunch gives this entire community invaluable support and encourages all learners to focus on their education.
In January 2013, Rebontsheng Primary School (Vosloorus ) was also added to the Foundation’s programme making a total of 14 schools the Gauteng area.