SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – In recognition of Maternal and Child Health month, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset initiated its first breakfast program at the Marie Genevieve de Weever School in an effort to tackle the ongoing concern of child hunger within the schools.
Rotary Sunset reached out to the Marie Genevieve de Weever School in order to ascertain the number of students who are not fortunate to walk with their lunches to school and who often have difficulty focusing in class as a result of them not having breakfast. It was heartbreaking to learn that there were at least 50+ students facing challenges with hunger on a daily basis. Rotary Sunset decided to initiate a breakfast program within the school to provide a daily breakfast for those students in need. Representatives of the Marie Genevieve de Weever School as well as Rotary Sunset gathered to sign the official Memorandum of Understanding, where both parties agreed to enter into an agreement where Rotary Sunset would provide funding to purchase the necessary food items to prepare the daily meals.
Proper nutrition among our children is essential to ensure healthy growth, proper organ formation and function, a strong immune system, and neurological and cognitive development. Child malnutrition is known to have an adverse effect on the cognitive function of children and despite global efforts to combat child hunger, it remains rampant in many undeveloped and developing countries. UNICEF estimates 3.1 million children die each year from under nutrition, which accounts for more than half of global child deaths. Under nutrition often leaves children vulnerable to numerous illnesses and diseases.
Sandra Mathew, Adjunct Manager of the Marie Genevieve de Weever School, gave a few words of thanks, “We would like to thank Rotary Sunset for initiating this much needed program for the students. This has become a major concern in our school and the teachers often times have to reach into their own pockets to ensure that their students get something to eat. We are truly grateful for your assistance and I am sure the students will greatly appreciate it.”
“An estimated 66 million primary school aged children attend classes hungry in many developing countries according to World Food Programme. This is an alarming amount and it is even more alarming to learn that numerous children on St. Maarten face the same ordeal. We understand the urgency to reach out to those in need in our communities, but it is not something we can do alone. Initiating this breakfast program will allow us to provide a nutritious breakfast for those students in need at the Marie Genevieve de Weever School; however, there are many more instances of child hunger and most of the schools on the island. Through this program we hope to inspire other business partners to get on board with this initiative so we can put an end to child hunger on our island” – President Jaida