A volunteer-based breakfast club initiative at Good Hope Seminary Junior School aims to provide pupils with a nutritious meal to start the day.
Most of the school’s pupils come from Khayelitsha and have to leave home by 5.30am to be on time for the start of the school day. Many don’t even have the time to eat breakfast before they catch public transport.
The project, which was started in February, provides breakfast to Grade R, Grade 1 and Grade 2 pupils at the school. They are hoping to expand it to include the Grade 3s next year but need funding to do so.
Aletta Ashmore, one of the co-ordinators of the project, said they started serving breakfast after a survey done among Grade 1 pupils showed that about a quarter of them had nothing to eat before arriving at school in the morning.
The breakfast club got its first bit of funding from the England-based Davis Foundation, but now also have other donors, having received support from Herzlia and Weizmann schools. “We have also trained some of the Grade 7s and Grade 6s who will take over at the end of the year.”
They also have volunteers who come in to help with project. “It’s been very successful, sometimes chaotic but 95 percent successful. Most of the older pupils have become prefects. They’ve learned to take on responsibility, to be disciplined in their approach, and it will make them leaders of the future,” she said.
Ms Ashmore said that funding would go towards buying e’Pap, a nutritious porridge made of wholegrain maize and soya. “It is expensive but it is really the best on the market. We also need long life milk, fruit and equipment. The food is the ongoing cost and if this thing is going to be sustainable, we need to know that the money is there. It’s been a miracle that it has worked this year but if it’s going to go into the future, it has to be sustainable.”
She said there was also a need for volunteers who can come in and help once a week.
“It’s incredibly important for the kids to start the day with a stomach full of food to sustain them. That’s the driving force and we do it for the kids so that they can learn.”
Adrienne Millner, the principal of Good Hope Seminary Junior School, congratulated Ms Ashmore on the success of the project so far. “It’s had lots of ups and downs, headaches but she has pushed through to make it the success that it is. It’s awesome how donations and volunteers have just come forward and it has grown. It is for the benefit of the kids. Many of our kids don’t get the right breakfast. At least this way we know they are getting enough nutrition to sustain them for most of the day. They get up so early and don’t even have time sometimes to eat breakfast before they leave home,” Ms Milner said.