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Stories from the Field

A Diverse Diet Helps Ematokisoa Focus on His Schoolwork

By Amanda Whitmyer on July 26, 2023

In a small village in Ampanihy, Madagascar, 10-year-old Ematokisoa lives in a drought-prone area that causes severe food insecurity challenges. Ematokisoa attends the 8th grade at a local school, which is one of the 103 schools in the Ampanihy district that participates in ADRA Madagascar’s school feeding initiative supported by Rise Against Hunger. Across the 103 schools, 18,000 students receive nutritious meals, consisting of rice, beans, onions, salt and oil. Rise Against Hunger supports the initiative by providing cash grants to ADRA Madagascar for the local and regional procurement of nutritious food that is then distributed to the students at the participating school.

Many of the children at the schools, including Ematokisoa, previously did not have enough nutritious food to make it through the school day and would have trouble concentrating on their schoolwork. Ndiene, the school cook, shares that the school meals help the children focus. For Ematokisoa, the nourishing school meal is his one complete meal per day where he feels full, eats a diverse diet and continues studying. 

Njarasoa, a meal assistant working with the school, adds that the project has been very beneficial for the entire district. The 103 schools have all benefited from the “education, wash, nutrition and agricultural components.” She said, “Parents of the students are very active in supporting the students. They try to contribute to the school feeding program despite their limited resources.  For example, during the tomato and watercress harvests, the parents donated part of the harvest to the school.”

Ematokisoa soon hopes to pass his Certificate of Elementary Primary Studies exam, the official exam that will enable him to begin secondary school. The school meals, helping to keep him feeling full and focused throughout the day, support his educational dreams.

It starts with a meal, and it starts with you. You – Hunger Champions – have made this impact possible alongside Rise Against Hunger. We invite you to help even more children like Ematokisoa by growing the movement to end hunger with a $25 gift in honor of our 25th anniversary. Give now to change a child’s future today!