Cerrejón Farm km 65, December of 2019

“MY SCHOOL LUNCH”, A PARTNERSHIP BENEFITING THE COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN IN LA GUAJIRA

2,250 children from 18 educational institutions in indigenous communities in the municipalities of Albania, Uribia, and Maicao ended their school year showing better academic performance compared to previous years. Such was the conclusion of the traditional authorities and teachers who assisted at the meeting planned by the Cerrejón Foundation and the World Food Programme, which presented the results of the project “My School Lunch”.

The goal of this initiative is to improve the education, nutrition, and health of children up to 14 years of age. Furthermore, this project promotes a healthy environment in schools by daily delivering a balanced meal in addition to improving the conditions and sanitation of the school and community.

“In the Santa Ana school, 165 children benefited, many of whom have to walk five to seven kilometres to get to school. Their biggest motivation was that they were going to get their lunch, and they didn’t mind walking long stretches. Previously, before the year ended, many would drop their studies because their parents couldn’t feed them,” stated Cándida Velásquez, a traditional authority.

The Cerrejón Foundation and the World Food Programme signed this partnership last August. It covers activities such as workshops aimed at children on the importance of good practices in healthy eating, personal hygiene habits, and the appropriate management of waste.

“We are honoured to have in the region a strategic ally such as the Cerrejón Foundation, which has principles of transparency and responsibility in resource management. Our noble mission is to guarantee these children have decent access to quality foods, which will allow them to improve their academic performance and their nutrition,” said Ramasio Tiller, head of the World Food Programme’s branch in La Guajira.

In addition to providing the school lunch, the agreement covers the promotion of food production practices with the implementation of four school vegetable gardens and upgrading of an existing garden as an inseparable part of their nutritional plan. Also, 18 ecological points (one per school) were created, and personal hygiene kits and teaching materials were provided to each participating child.

 “The results of this partnership are reflected in the happiness of the children where this initiative is instituted. With our partner, the World Food Programme, we reaffirm our commitment to contributing to the healthy growth of the children of La Guajira. Undoubtedly, this is a very powerful impact, a great step in offering a fair, equitable start to life for all children we manage to reach with our school efforts,” commented Janneth Daza, the Foundation’s director.

The 2019 edition of “My School Lunch” concluded with representatives from the World Food Programme, officials from the Cerrejón Foundation, traditional authorities, teachers, and community leaders who participated in the project.