Eighteen years ago, little Andrews set off alone from his rural home in Wa, Ghana, for his first day of primary school. Andrews was excited that instead of caring for cattle alongside his family all day, that he would be attending classes, meetings new friends, and learning.
As he set off for school, his father stood in the doorway, crossing his arms disapprovingly. He didn’t want Andrews to attend school, as he was the first born boy in a family of sixteen children, and was needed to work on the farm. At the time, his family didn’t see the value in education.
Andrews desired to attend school so much that he went on his own without support. He had to combine his farming chores and schooling to be able to produce enough food to feed everyone in the family. He often went to school for the entire day and went straight to working on the farm without anything to eat. He attended class barefoot and couldn’t afford books, but stayed positive and focused despite his challenges.
Nutrition is the foundation to a healthy life. Kids who eat healthy, well-balanced meals every day have the fuel to excel. Nourished children learn better in class, and have the energy to laugh, run, and play. In communities near our CMAVIL site in Paraguay, healthy eating isn’t always common knowledge. Many parents come from a background where they never learned healthy eating habits. It can be hard for busy mothers to make sure their children get the proper nourishment, especially those without access to resources or education.
When Sandya was a small girl, she didn’t have an easy daily life. Sandya is from a tribal village in Mangalagiri, India, and grew up in a small thatched hut with her parents and five siblings. Her parents woke up early each day, working long hours as manual laborers to provide for their family.
Even with all of their hard work, Sandya’s parents still didn’t make nearly enough to provide their children with food, clothing and education. Sandya used to trek deep into the nearby forests with her siblings to collect firewood, leaves and herbal medicines that they would sell at at low price to try to support the family.
Theresa, from Serenje, Zambia, had to leave her mother and father when she was very young. Theresa comes from a large family, and has three sisters and five brothers. Her parents, who work as farmers, cannot provide for all of their children, especially when rainfall is scarce and crops are poor. When Theresa’s older brother was old enough for a job of his own, he took Theresa and one of her sisters to live with him, his wife, and their child in another town.
When Theresa first went to live with her brother, they all lived in a tiny thatched hut in a mission compound. The hut was small, uncomfortable, and worst of all, unsafe. The three women in the hut didn’t feel secure at night, and Theresa’s brother feared for the safety of his newborn. They wished desperately for a safer home, but Theresa’s brother didn’t make enough as a general worker to send Theresa and her sister to school, let alone purchase a new home.