A hungry nation cannot be a growing one and with three million of South Africa’s children going hungry, we need to join together to make sure that their tummies are filled.
A decade-long study performed by NGO, Save the Children shows that malnutrition severely hampers learning ability in children. With three million hungry children, this means that hunger is a contributing factor to South Africa’s skills deficit, which continues to keep the unemployment rate up.
Speaking at the launch of this year’s KFC Add Hope World Hunger Relief Month campaign on 25 October, Co-founder of JAM International and JAM SA, Ann Pretorius said: “A hungry child can’t learn or play effectively and can’t concentrate.”
She noted that recent statistics in South Africa reflect that 19% of children don’t get breakfast at home and 51% don’t take lunch to school. “The statistics go on and on and on, and what we see in children externally is miniscule compared to what is happening on the inside – to what is happening to the retardation of their brain development.”
Country Director of HOPE Worldwide, Marc Aguirre added, “Too many children are going to bed and school with hungry tummies. Too many children have this unwelcome companion called hunger. Whether or not we feed children has a profound impact on their development and their ability to think analytically. Developmental phases are progressive. You can’t turn back and trying to fix it later on in life is very difficult.”
JAM SA and HOPE Worldwide are but two of 90 Add Hope beneficiaries. Lauren Turnbull, Sponsorship and CSI Brand Manager at KFC South Africa reflects on what she has seen working with Add Hope beneficiaries to feed children from newborns up to eight year olds. “I have seen first-hand the impact a nutritious meal has on children and how it improves their ability to concentrate and function once they have a full tummy,” she said.
“Early childhood development is an important place to start preparing our future generation to make their contribution to a country in which we learn, grow and thrive. By focusing on feeding young children today, we can put ourselves in a position to help alleviate unemployment,” concluded Turnbull.