- Millions of children go to school hungry.
- The organization aims to keep the kids at school by feeding them.
- They call for more hands to aid the children and reach out to more.
During the 1996 World Food Summit, the delegates present defined food security as a situation where “all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”
A fed kid is a happy kid; a happy kid is able to be a smart kid, and as in the words of George Elliot, “No man is wise on an empty stomach.”
If it’s hard for an adult to function on an empty stomach, how then is it for a child, who innocently cannot comprehend why it’s so hard to put food on the table?
Maybe, you have had to work or go to school on an empty stomach, or even lived a day knowing that you might not eat and you understand or, at least, have a glimpse of the demotivation the experience comes along with.
In Kenya, over 3 million children go to school hungry and most definitely, angry due to hunger.
Fancied Families, a program by Fancied Story Network, is an outreach program bringing together friends from all over the world and enabling them to fund a meal plan for kids in Gachororo Primary School in Juja, Kiambu County.
The project is funded by Macheo Feeding Program.
The idea was conceived on June 16, 2022, during the celebration of the International Day of the African Child.
The program was founded by Laurette Jabiro, a 3rd-year student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
She has interests in law, poetry, mental health advocacy, community service, and crocheting.
Speaking to Scholar Media Africa, she told us that the name Fancied Families came from the concept of a family showing up for you.
The program was meant to help the kids in Gachororo Primary who can’t afford a daily lunch at school.
The school provides a list of students from needy backgrounds.
From the number, the program heads seek contributions from friends, families, and alumni by calling for the adoptionof one or more children.
The feeding program costs KSh240 per term.
This means that in a year, each student needs a support of KSh720.
The program also involves the children in mental health mentorship sessions to remind them that they are valuable in society and to also guide them on trending issues.
“With the recent increased mental health cases in schoolshe program is an opportunity to show kids how much they matter,” she explained.
Ms. Jabiro says that they also sponsor children.
“In 2022, we sponsored 14 children with the help of SPY community, Globe Bookshop, and KMUN JKUAT.
This year, our target is sponsoring 60 children because the program has become popular over time.
By the grace of God, with our newly acquired partners like Sayari Fancied Kids and Hooch Fancied Kids, we hope to achieve a lot more,” says Ms. Jabiro.
She went ahead to shed light on their challenges as an organization.
She notes that learning how to best run the program was a challenge as there were few people to look up to.
Hassan Makewa, one of the program’s beneficiaries, is a pupil at Gachororo Primary.
“Before they came, I would eat lunch once in a while when I managed to get something from home; friends would also share with me sometimes. Most of the time, I accepted my situation and got used to it since I’m not the only one.
I’m happy, and I wish they could do this for most of the pupils because most of us come to school with nothing to eat.
Before, during lunchtime, I could sleep or go talk to those I know they didn’t have anything to eat like me,” he says.
He tells his story of how he would get out of school to fix bikes so that his siblings get food at home.
For him, his lunchtime meal is all he could get for a day.
Strategizing for food
Programs like Fancied Families in learning institutions are among the best approaches to ensuring every child has a meal at school and is able to concentrate on their education and not drop out for jobs.
This is on top of making fertilizer and other key inputs affordable to farmers, improving access to agricultural credit through Agriculture Finance Corporation and other financiers, and improving market infrastructure and access to markets and market information.
In the novel Girl Over God, Abhijit Naskar says, “It’s a strange world we live in, some people’s trash contains more food that some peoples stomach. Things won’t change until we renounce all luxury.”
This is the hard reality.
“As a Gen Z, the best way to figure out your purpose is by serving. Give something that you have, even if it’s just your time; serve people with a good heart, and you will find that which makes you happy. The world needs more fancied friends,” Ms. Jabiro observes.
She calls upon people in all places to come together and contribute positively to society. The plan is to see to it that all kids are getting meals in school.
Jabiro thanks everyone who is part of the project and welcomes new adopters to the program for the sake of more children.
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Are you seeking to learn more about Fancied Families Program or willing to adopt a child?
Visit their website and social media pages @Fancied Story Network on
Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, and be part of their 2023 program.