Lakshmi* is a single parent managing a household of four consisting of her sister, her two children, and herself. Her son, Selva*, is one of our Super Sarapan beneficiaries who has been faithfully attending his classes even when schools began moving to online learning due to the pandemic. When we had to pivot Super Sarapan to provide cash transfers to families due to the school closures, Lakshmi continued providing breakfast for Selva using the aid to buy extra groceries to prepare his meals.
Selva told us that starting his day with breakfast helps him focus better in his studies at home. When there were extra co-curricular activities, Lakshmi will also prepare an extra meal for him. She does all this for her son because she strongly believes that her children need to have enough to eat to be able to do well in school.
Food (insecurity) for thought
Lakshmi’s story is one of the many we’ve heard when speaking to families whose children are part of the program. Food has always played a significant part for families with school-going children. That led us to start Super Sarapan in 2014.
In a UNICEF report from 2019, 97% of households from the Bottom 40 (B40) communities find that high food prices prevented them from preparing healthy meals for their children, while 50% of them do not have enough money to buy food in recent months.
Fast forward to 2021-2022, the COVID pandemic further affected many of these families due to their nature of employment, their decreased access to affordable goods and services, and living conditions. Hard-hit families experienced lower purchasing power and were being forced to cope by depleting their limited savings, rationing food, or foregoing other essentials. Hence, there is an even greater need to address food insecurity, particularly for school-going children who do not have sufficient meals per day due to their families' current circumstances.
What can one meal a day do for a school-going child?
That one meal is able to help children focus in class.
A reduced number of meals for children means reduced caloric intake. That in turn means that a child is not consuming enough to have optimum energy levels. Energy is essential for concentration and participation in school. Under-nutrition affects the growth and development of a child which is often associated with higher school absenteeism and poor school performance. Without addressing their primary need for food, children will have little energy to focus on anything else such as school.
That one meal can reduce families’ overall household expenditure and provide stability for the child.
Aside from lightening the financial burden of a family, the assurance of a meal at school can provide much-needed stability and certainty for a child. Families are not only incentivized to ensure their children continue staying in school, be it physical or online, but children themselves also look forward to going to school as they know that there's a meal waiting for them there.
From feeding 40 children in 1 school back in 2014, to providing cash aid to families to feed 715 children in 22 schools in 2021, Super Sarapan has always been about ensuring children do not go to school hungry and continue to stay in school.
In 2022, with the announcement that schools will be fully reopened in April, we aim to feed 1,085 school-going children through Super Sarapan. We hope that through this program, we are able to address food insecurity and narrow the education gap caused by the pandemic in the past 2 years.
How can you be part of the solution?
For only RM4, you can feed a child one meal per schooling day. Be part of our solution by giving to our Education Accessibility funds.
Adopt a school
If you are an organisation that shares a similar vision and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) objectives to Super Sarapan, partner with us by adopting a school and funding our Super Sarapan program for children in these schools.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of our beneficiaries.