Aswali, age 12, travels to and from school each day in a densely populated area of Lusaka, Zambia, where he lives with his mother and six siblings. Lusaka’s walkways are lined by cinderblock homes with no electricity or running water. For families like Aswali’s, access to clean, safe water and medical care is difficult to come by.
Aswali’s family sells vegetables and constructs braziers — the metal rings used to burn charcoal for food preparation. Each evening after returning home from school, Aswali helps his mother and siblings with building the braziers.
But Aswali does not let his challenges and duties at home interfere with his education. He has perfect attendance at school, and while there, he receives a Rise Against Hunger meal each day distributed by partner Family Legacy Missions. Aswali is rewarded for his attendance record with take-home meals that provide nourishment for the rest of his family as well.
Paul, the Head Teacher at Aswali’s school, shares the impact on all of the children participating in the lunch program, “When a new student begins attending school, in a very short period of time, there is an increase in concentration and focus in the children which enables them to excel in school.” He also explains that the food program has garnered support of education from families in the community because they can be assured that their children will eat at least one meal during the day.
For many children at this school and in the community, their only breakfast is often a tea made from herbs and hot water, which although it calms stomachs, has little to no nutritional value.
Photos courtesy Family Legacy Missions.