School administrators in Swaziland are imploring poverty-stricken parents to send their children to school with food as hunger grips the kingdom. They say children could soon die.
Parents should at least give the children sweet potatoes to suppress hunger pains, they say. The call comes after the Swazi Government failed to pay for food for the children as the economy slumps.
Food shortages have hit schools all this year and the government school feeding scheme known as zondle has collapsed.
The Times of Swaziland reported, ‘As the food shortage situation in schools worsens, the Swaziland Association of Schools Administrators (SASA) has pleaded with parents to at least put sweet potatoes, tindlubu (jugo beans) or umbhonyo (boiled peanuts) in their children’s lunch boxes so that they could have something to eat during break time.
‘The administrators were of the view that this would enable the pupils to at least concentrate during lessons.’
The newspaper added, ‘Sphasha Dlamini, the Secretary General (SG) of SASA said the situation in schools was getting worse by the day.’
The Times reported, ‘The head teachers said hunger was written all over the faces of the pupils, something that made teachers’ jobs difficult.
‘The school administrators have sent a number of requests to government, asking it to act fast on the matter because they fear that they would soon start losing lives due to hunger in schools.’
In a report in May 2017, the World Food Program estimated 350,000 people of Swaziland’s 1.1 million population were in need of food assistance. WFP helped 65,473 of them. It said it was regularly feeding 52,000 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) aged under eight years at neighbourhood care points. About 45 percent of all children in thought to be OVCs.
It reported chronic malnutrition affected 26 percent of all children aged under five.
BAD FOOD POISONS 200 PUPILS
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DROUGHT: ‘PEOPLE DIED OF HUNGER’