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School meals help 10,000 vulnerable Syrian and Lebanese students

Education in emergencies

Students with their lunch provided by World Food Programme Picture: WFP/Dina El Kassaby

 

It’s hard to learn when you’re hungry. So a nutritious school lunch is vital if children are to fulfil their potential in the classroom.

That’s why the World Food Programme is providing school meals for 10,000 vulnerable local and Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.

The United Nations food relief agency’s school lunches include a carton of milk or juice, locally-baked snacks and a piece of fruit.

That gives them more energy to focus on their studies, said WFP Lebanon Country Director Dominik Heinrich.

A carton of juice and a snack are included Picture: WFP/Dina El Kassaby

He added: “By providing children with daily, nutritious meals at school, WFP can ensure improved nutritional intake for these children as well as encouraging their parents to send them to school regularly.”

Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees have enrolled in Lebanon’s public schools and over 250 of them have introduced the innovative double-shift.

Learn more about plan to get one million Syrian refugee children in school

The WFP school meals programme is funded by the Italian Development Cooperation and is carried out in co-ordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Students are better able to study after a nutritious meal Picture: WFP/Dina El Kassaby

The selected schools are located in the most vulnerable communities across Lebanon as identified by UNICEF and UNHCR and the programme is carried out in close coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

Mr Heinrich said: “Our school meals programme is an investment in the education and future of the next generation.

“We have already seen positive improvements in attendance and students’ ability to focus on their lessons in the last few weeks since we launched the pilot.

“Following the initial success, made possible thanks to the support of the schools and our partners, WFP is preparing to expand this programme during the next academic year to more schools in the country.”

WFP also assists 600,000 Syrian refugees across Lebanon with monthly food vouchers useable at local markets.


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