The Tiger Brands Foundation in-school breakfast programme has been implemented in six primary schools in Ashton, Western Cape. The little town lies in the picturesque foothills of the Langeberg Mountains; a luscious valley famous for its great wines and fruit. The beauty of the area is breathtaking, yet the communities living here face enormous challenges and a difficult socio-economic environment.
There are limited employment opportunities as the work is spread across wine or fruit farms and the canning factory in Ashton. Employment is seasonal, commencing in November and running through to March/April. Out of season periods leaves much of the community without an income and facing bitterly cold conditions through the winter months.
Limited resources combined with the local socio-economic issues pose a bigger challenge for the principals, school management and governing bodies. The introduction of the breakfast programme to complement the government’s National Schools Nutrition Programme (NSNP) lunch has had a significant impact on the learners and their families. Schools tell us that:
- The breakfast programme together with the NSNP lunch guarantees the learners two nutritious meals per day;
- Absenteeism and late arrivals has dropped significantly;
- Academic performance, concentration and the ability to absorb their lessons has improved across the board. Schools have also noted a far higher level of physical activity encouraging healthier learners in general;
- Parents are supportive and appreciative of the breakfast programme. Schools have noted an improvement in parental involvement in general school activities;
- The schools have streamlined their feeding process to ensure the meals are served efficiently with minimum disruption and unnecessary food wastage. The food handlers working in the schools maintain spotless kitchens, prepare breakfast and lunch with loving care and at the allotted time for serving. In so doing, the schools have found an additional area to support their communities by sharing any extra food supplies with parents and families;
Our in-school breakfast programme in partnership with the Department of Basic Education has proved invaluable and extremely beneficial in all the schools where we work. However, it must be noted the active and passionate commitment by the principals, school management, school governing bodies, food handlers and the Foundation Project Coordinators is the vital ingredient required to create a truly effective feeding programme.