Food is an essential part of a child’s life. Having enough of the right vitamins and nutrients throughout childhood is vital – without it, development and growth is threatened, and a child’s health and life are at risk.
Food scarcity is a significant problem in The Gambia. A hot sub-Saharan climate, coupled with a rainy season that is becoming shorter each year due to climate change, makes growing a variety of foods incredibly difficult. Fruits and vegetables often need to be imported, and without the option to grow fresh food, children in The Gambia are at risk of developing illnesses such as rickets and scurvy that can leave them with lifelong disabilities.
Without adequate nutrition, every aspect of a child’s health will suffer. Lack of vitamins and vital energy leaves children fatigued, sluggish, and unable to concentrate at school. Aches and pains develop in their joints where muscles and bones can’t properly grow, and an undernourished immune system leads to a much higher risk of developing serious illnesses. Without food to keep a child’s brain and body in working order, they cannot possibly focus on their education. Gnawing pains of hunger are a continuous distraction through the day, impeding their ability to learn. Without the energy to run and play, hungry children are socially deprived, isolated and unhappy.
Our feeding programmes
We are committed to helping the poorest communities in The Gambia to adequately feed their children. Our feeding programmes bring high-quality food to impoverished families, as well as providing education on food and diet. Through working with schools, communities and parents, we are increasing awareness of food safety, hygiene and nutrition that will benefit Gambian children as they grow and develop.
Our family feeding programme works at the heart of Gambian villages, providing much-needed packages of food that poor families cannot afford themselves. A 50kg bag of rice costs £25, and can last a family of 5 for over a month. We provide bags of rice, along with fruit, vegetables and meat in a monthly food package delivered by our Gambian case workers. The food packages provide children with vital vitamins and nutrients that they may not have access to otherwise, and are a lifeline for their caregivers and communities.
How you can help
Many of the families we provide for are also linked to our child sponsorship scheme, and receive food as a part of or in addition to their children’s sponsorship. To sponsor a child and provide for their entire wellbeing, visit our Sponsorship page.
Children need a proper diet for many reasons: to keep them developing normally, to boost their immune systems to prevent disease, to promote the growth of their muscles and bones, and to support their brain and the development of their senses. A good diet is vital for a child’s physical, emotional and cognitive wellbeing, and will give them the best possible opportunity to grow up happy and healthy.
You can help through sponsoring a child, making a one-off donation or setting up a monthly contribution – all of which can be done by clicking the donate button. We want to reach even more children across The Gambia who need access to better nutrition, and with your support, we can make this possible.
School Feeding – The Grace Foundation
Since 2018, Child Aid Gambia has worked alongside The Grace Foundation, a Gambian charity that provides free, nutritious school meals for 400 children across three nursery schools.
The Grace Foundation’s feeding programme provides each child with a meal every day at school, which takes significant pressure off their families and caregivers who may otherwise struggle to feed them. The schools are located in areas of serious poverty, with most of the pupils coming from families who have suffered bereavement, illness, disability or unemployment.
This programme is vital, as it feeds school children free of charge. Parents and guardians do not have to make any contributions or pay for their meals, meaning that children from poor families no longer have to endure hunger throughout the day. Without this programme, many of the children would need to work on the streets instead of going to school, in order to find the money for food they cannot get at home.
Our role with The Grace Foundation
For children to be able to concentrate effectively at school, they need to be well fed. Without a meal at breakfast or lunch time, the children become fatigued and hungry when they should be concentrating in lessons. This can prove disastrous for their academic progress, as their attention, processing and problem-solving skills are significantly impaired by lack of food. For nursery school children in particular, adequate nutrition is vital, to enable their bodies to grow and for them to learn the skills they need to carry them through school and beyond.
We are working alongside Nelson Aigbe, the founder of The Grace Foundation, to ensure that his project has a secure and sustainable future. We believe in supporting Gambian projects such as this, to support and empower communities to wish to help themselves.
Help us to help The Grace Foundation
Your support is vital in keeping projects like The Grace Foundation afloat. As a Gambian-run organisation, The Grace Foundation struggles to make ends meet and provide for the volume of children under their scheme. We are looking for ways to make this project more sustainable in the long term, so that Nelson and his team can continue with this vital scheme for many years to come. Click the donate button now to make a contribution to The Grace Foundation, and help us in providing nutrition for 400 Gambian school children.