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What a Difference One Hot Meal a Day Can Make in Nepal

What a Difference One Hot Meal a Day Can Make in Nepal

Guest post by Juli Hammersley, volunteer, The Prem Rawat Foundation

One of the programs of the foundation that I volunteer for has been successful in shifting communities out of the cycle of poverty. How? By providing one hot nutritious meal each day for the children and adults in need. I recently had the opportunity to visit the facility in Nepal, and below is my story.

There is a road—the first road built between Nepal and India—that winds like a ribbon through the foothills of the Himalayas. Turning off this road takes you to Nepal’s Tasarpu Food For People facility.

In the cool early morning, the site buzzes like a hive. Children arrive from all around, walking the last few yards up to the facility. Girls, boys, all ages, coming for a well balanced, hot nutritious breakfast.

One picture says it all.

I saw this little girl walk into the dining room. Most of the others had come with friends or relatives, but this girl entered alone.

After the routine of washing and queuing, she settled in her space to eat. I was captivated by her. She didn’t notice me, but I watched as she worked her way through a small mountain of food she had built on her tray. She ate and ate and then lifted the tray to her mouth to get every last grain.

Zoom in on her jeans. The holes have been embroidered with pink cotton thread. Each embroidered hole is an “I love you” from her mother. The girl’s clothes are slightly dirty, probably because, after this meal, she has to work.

All through breakfast, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. It seemed to me that she had responsibilities and was a little serious. Having been with her for only a few minutes, I watched as she disappeared through the door, knowing that on this morning she left with more than a full belly. On this morning she left with my heart.

That is the difference made in one girl’s life. Multiplied, the effects are stunning.

After breakfast, the headmaster took me to see the local school. Each class was crowded with eager students. Girls are going on to high school now, which was unheard of before the Food for People facility was operational.

Until FFP opened, there was no food for the children at home, so they had to work in the fields, breaking stones, or in hotels, washing floors. The dropout rate was high. Today, 99 percent of the children attend school and have hope for the future.

This visit has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

Read more about the visit to the facility in Bantoli, India, and about the work of the facilities.

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All photos courtesy of Juli Hammersley.

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32 comments

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3:00PM PDT on Jul 5, 2014

My cousin, her husband, and child are in India. She is expecting a second child soon.

1:24PM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

Barbara L. NO we do not owe the children of the world free meals, especially when we have children starving here at home, over 13 million children are food insecure, which if you don't know what that means is, they don't know where their next meal is coming from, when we take care of our own, then we can help others

4:15PM PDT on Apr 14, 2014

Nepal Youth Foundation is another group in Nepal helping children, especially orphans and kids from the "untouchable" castes, and World Food Program has a cute video, showing how nutritious meals during childhood helped a Nepali child grow up to be a famous Sherpa who climbed Mt. Everest! (please play www.freerice.com every day to help give rice to hungry children all over the world!)

10:16AM PDT on Apr 14, 2014

One hot meal a day causes kids to stay in school instead of laboring to feed themselves. The lifelong impact of that extra education means the people donating those hot meals are getting a heck of a lot of bang for their buck!

3:11AM PDT on Apr 14, 2014

Carole R. - exactly right!

Why should children starve in some countries while in others they are becoming morbidly obese? Something very wrong with the way the world works!

Amazing! Not only are they feeding the kids here but they are also encouraging them to stay in school and get an education which in their future can help them earn a bit more money.

8:59PM PDT on Apr 11, 2014

Great article, Thanks for sharing !! :)

8:21PM PDT on Apr 11, 2014

No child should go hungry with all the world has to offer.

2:20PM PDT on Apr 11, 2014

We owe the children of the world nutritious meals, health care, education, and decent clothing and shelter. That is the least we should be doing.

Support food banks, support programs that feed children. No child should go hungry.

1:18PM PDT on Apr 11, 2014

Anything that encourages kids to stay in school, as well as putting food on the table.

Has to be a win, win.

12:21PM PDT on Apr 11, 2014

Wonderful article, thanks for sharing.

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