Tendai Rupapa

Senior Reporter

The schools feeding programme launched by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa is being expanded to ensure children are well-nourished and free to pursue their education without challenges.

Amai Mnangagwa launched the programme at Chemhanza High School in Hwedza, Mashonaland East recently, initially benefiting over 1 000 vulnerable children.

Last week, she took the feeding programme to Manicaland where thousands of vulnerable children drawn from 20 schools, enjoyed the meals, which she personally prepared together with women from the community.

To sustain this initiative, the First Lady provided maize seed for Pfumvudza, grain, rice, cooking oil and other essential commodities to 20 schools within the province.

The First Lady ensures that vulnerable citizens have access to food, healthcare and shelter regardless of political affiliation.

Children enjoy a meal under First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa’s school feeding programme in Mashonaland East Province yesterday

When she launched the programme in Mashonaland East at Chemhanza High School, Amai Mnangagwa left an assortment of foodstuffs to ensure the programme could continue.

On Tuesday, Hwedza North legislator Cde David Musabayana used part of the food left by the First Lady during her launch to feed over 400 children aged between three and 12.

The children were drawn from Hoki, Shaka, Rapako Villages and Hwedza Centre. The provision of food for schoolchildren helps reduce cases of learners dropping out of school.

Coming at a time when the country was battling the effects of successive droughts, the programme also ensures children of families hit by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are catered for.

Cde Musabayana applauded the First Lady for coming up with the programme which he described as a noble idea.

“On Tuesday we fed 400 children with an average age of 3 to 12 years. The children were accompanied mostly by elderly people whom we also fed,” he said.

“We are not only humbled, but intrigued by the First Lady’s idea. We never thought kids would enjoy dried vegetables with peanut butter and beans. Some were even licking their fingers and asking for more food. We have realised the real need for supplementary feeding as some of the kids showed signs of stunting.

“Going forward, we will continue to ask the First Lady to give us more and more menus for traditional food thereby keeping our children healthy.

“We want to start community gardens to supplement supplies from Amai’s Angel of Hope Foundation.

“We may also need to replicate the programme in more if not all wards. Indeed, the noble cause helps close a nutrition gap that our First Lady has identified and is closing. For that we are grateful as a province.”

The feeding programme will be replicated across all the country’s provinces to benefit thousands of vulnerable children and expecting mothers.