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Feb 25, 1999

Small school starts feeding program

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Freetown Sibun is known for its efforts to protect Hicatee which inhabit the river. Well, villagers are once again pooling their resources and devoting their energies to another cause. This time they are not making an investment in the environment, but in their children.

It may have one of the smallest enrollments in the country but Freetown Sibun Methodist Primary School has made a giant step towards providing its thirteen students with a daily well-balanced and nutritious meal at school.

June Neal, Principal, Freetown Methodist School

“Although we are small most people look at it and think that we don’t have the same problems like larger schools. We do have it except that it is on a smaller scale and I found that yes, the children are eating but are they eating a balanced meal everyday? And we questioned that and we looked at the situation and we found that, yes it was necessary for us to bring this program here.”

While the children do not have to pay for the meal because the students are from a farming community, they are asked to bring whatever produce is grown on their farms. The feeding program was formed with the assistance of the Belize Canteen Association. According to the association’s president, Ruby Harris while they do assist schools with funds and food supplies, they do encourage schools to be responsible for their own programs.

Ruby Harris, President, Belize Canteen Association

“What we do is try to access funds you know and what we do is try to give the basic equipment but what we want is for each school to own their program along with their community so it can be sustained. So it is very important to have ownership because then you have more pride in what you are doing.”

At the moment, June Neal who is both the principal and teacher at Freetown Sibun says the school is receiving the community support it will take to make the program a success.

June Neal

“Right now we have four parents who have committed their time to come and cook for these children. It’s just like cooking for a big family. It’s nothing major so they agreed to do it.”

Today, the children enjoyed a meal of white rice with fish and vegetables. Harold Godfrey, the General Manager of Methodist schools says if the students are not fed properly, not only will it affect their growth but their education as well.

Harold Godfrey, General Manager, Methodist Schools

“We will not see the benefits of this feeding program today but we will see it in five, ten, fifteen years from now when these children finish Freetown Sibun they go onto high school and they go further than high school.”

During inauguration ceremonies, Harris promised the school that the Association will be presenting them with a refrigerator. So far through the assistance of Roses Paper Products, the Belize Canteen Association has donated a stove and other equipment to Freetown Sibun’s feeding program.

If you would like to form a feeding program at your school and are in need of assistance you can contact Ruby Harris at the Ministry of Education at telephone numbers 77072 or 77441. In Belmopan you can call 08-22918.

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