Reppi School Says No Government Support For Hungry Students
Reppi Number One School, of Kolfe-Qeranio sub city in Addis Ababa, whose student body includes many youth suffering from malnutrition, discloses to our reporter that neither the government nor any NGO has fed the affected students. Instead, it is teachers and kind people from the community who have outstretched their hands.
One of the coordinators of the lounge that feeds the children, tells our reporter that “because the donation we offer is not sufficient to feed all the hunger-stricken children, we selected the 261 most-affected children and give them breakfast and lunch so that they can continue their classes.”
A school teacher, who has requested annonymity due to safety concerns, explains, “Even though the Addis Ababa City Administration television station broadcast a program that shows students who fail in their classes because of hunger, Kuma Demeksa – the mayor of the city – refused to observe the conditions of the children.”
The teacher also adds, “Even though we cannot find any response from the government, some NGOs have approached us and asked us to work on forward the number of children who are in need and their background information, and our committee is working on it.”
On the other hand the anonymous teacher says, “After the television program was transmitted, other people started to share the burden of the teachers to feed the children.” According to the coordinator, the lounge has collected four kgs of pasta, ten kgs of rice and bread and 20,000 Birr in donations since then.
The anonymous teacher also indicated that the children most affected by hunger are aged seven to 16. Most of the children come from families with parents who are daily laborers, low-income earners, pensioners, senior citizens or suffer from HIV/AIDS. “These children,” says the teacher, “are representatives of the hungry class of the state.”
In the last four years, the number of children affected by hunger has increased. As a result, the teacher explains that the school began raising donations for its hungry students in 2009. The school now supports these students using the 14,500 Birr it has received from another private school.
“Nevertheless, the number of hungry students has increased by over five percent during the current Ethiopian year,” says the teacher. “Because of this, the condition is out of our capacity and it is interrupting the teaching and learning activities.”
According to the information we received from the school, the number of hunger-stricken students in the same school was only 31 in 2007. After observing many of these students sleeping and collapsing repeatedly in the classroom, some teachers began to feed a number of students at their own expense.