Tamirat: A Catalyst for Change in School Nutrition
The Power of Proper Nutrition Changes the Future for Students
At 7 years old, Tamirat was very small for his age. He and his elderly grandmother lived in a small room in Addis Ababa and struggled to survive. They had no income and often went without food for days.
In 2014, when Wide Horizons For Children staff met Tamirat, he was suffering from starvation, in bed and too weak to move. Although he lived very close to school, the short-walk was insurmountable.
After receiving emergency medical care, Tamirat was enrolled in the school nutrition program during its first year and began receiving lunch at school each day.
Tamirat began to gain weight and engage more at school, eager to get those around him to smile and laugh. Unfortunately, on weekends and during school holidays, Tamirat had nothing to eat.
Without the School Nutrition program, Tamirat and others like him would not be in school lighting up the room with their smiles. Getting to know Tamirat, we realized that the Education Through Wellness School Nutrition program was often the only source of stable food for children, not just a supplementary feeding program. As a result, we realized how critical it is to provide summer and holiday food rations to children as part of the program so they don’t lose ground when school is closed.Deb Mansfield, Director of Programs, Wide Horizons For Children.
In June 2016, Wide Horizons For Children staff visited Tamirat and his grandmother again. It was during exam period and school was closed. Tamirat had not eaten for days and was too weak to speak and could barely raise his hand in greeting. It was then that the School Nutrition program changed.
Today, Tamirat is going to school and thriving. For many children, like Tamirat and their families, the Wide Horizons For Children School Nutrition program has been life-saving.