TPRF’s Food For People: Highlighting Success on World Food Day 2012
Each year, the United Nations declares October 16 World Food Day. Over 150 countries participate by holding special events. The purpose is to bring attention to worldwide efforts to end hunger.
TPRF’s Food For People (FFP) program is one such effort. It reflects Prem Rawat’s vision that putting one basic necessity in place can help small rural communities take a significant step from stark poverty to a more promising future.
Each of TPRF’s three FFP facilities provides a hot, nutritious meal in the local cuisine to school children and ailing adults each day. Significantly, the communities where these facilities are located are very involved in the planning and operation of these programs.
The ongoing results of FFP gives every indication that this approach is seeding future success even as it addresses urgent needs. Below is an update from these three locations about their progress. Read further to see how one meal a day, with proper care, can help transform a community.
Enjoy this collection of FFP photos taken on location. You may also view in full screen mode by hovering over the photo and clicking on the screen icon.
TPRF’s Food For People: Highlighting Success on World Food Day 2012
TPRF’s Food For People: Highlighting Success on World Food Day
In a Hurry in Bantoli
Heading out to FFP in Tasarpu
Lining up outside in Otinibi
Chatting along the way in Tasarpu
We've got wheels, Bantoli
It's cooler inside, Otinibi
A family affair, Bantoli
Time to wash up, Tasarpu
Sinks for washing, Otinibi
This must be it, Bantoli
Lining up for food, Tasarpu
Full tummies, happy hearts, Otinibi
Good food, good company, Tasarpu
Washing up, Bantoli
Our whole class is here, Otinibi
Big eyes, Bantoli
Home with fresh water,Tasarpu
Back in school, Otinibi
On top of the world, Bantoli
FFP BANTOLI: A Safer Place
In 2006, TPRF partnered with the Premsagar Foundation to open its first Food for People facility in the remote village of Bantoli, in the tribal area of Jharkhand in northeast India.
Here, children grow up in simple huts with dirt floors. Rocky soil yields little food, and most able adults work at grueling manual labor to feed their families. Sending their children to school has not been possible for most families, a fact which perpetuates the cycle of poverty even further.
Each year for the last seven years, FFP has served 100,000 hot, nutritious meals to children and ailing adults in the seven surrounding villages.
Because of regular good nutrition and the accompanying basic hygiene education, the children of the area have become healthier. Parents are allowing their children to return to school. Ailing adults have been able to return to work to support their families, and good hygiene practices are carrying over into homes.
Recently, crime has decreased significantly in Bantoli. Before FFP, the desperate economic outlook drove people to steal firewood from their neighbors, which led to violent fights. Many children were also involved in petty thefts. As desperation for enough food has diminished, crime has become a rarity, and people feel more hope that they can find work to earn money for what they need.
Said one Bantoli resident, “Now bundles of firewood and other things are left in the yard and they are safe. Nobody steals them. This is a very significant change.”
FFP NEPAL: Window of Opportunity
In the early morning hours, activity stirs in the FFP facility located in the small village of Tasarpu, set in the rugged mountains near Katmandu, Nepal. Staff members are preparing to feed 500 school children and 100 infirm adults. This has been the daily routine for over three years in this mountainous area where subsistence farming rarely provides enough food for nine months.
The kitchen, dining room and toilet facilities are sparkling clean. The staff, who live in the village or in the new FFP housing structure, are cheerful and welcoming.
Since the FFP program, the local school has seen a significant rise in enrollment, with three grades being added to accommodate increased demand. Children no longer need to work all day for food or leave school hungry in the middle of the school day. Students from six schools in the surrounding area participate, with some walking for up to two hours to eat at FFP and then go on to school.
Raising literacy rates has long been a priority in Nepal, but few efforts have proved successful. The passing rate for the secondary school in Tasarpu for the national SLC (School Leaving Certificate) examination is now 61% compared to the national average of 47%. This is the second highest in the district. (The passing rate of another secondary school in the same district where only a few students come to FFP is 24%).
Recently, seven Tasarpu students received grants to continue their education past the normal grades, due to the generosity of patrons of the FFP partner organization Premsagar Foundation Nepal. Premsagar has also donated two computers to the local schools, giving computer access to the students there for the first time ever.
Not surprisingly, there has been increased media coverage about FFP as the program begins to get regional and national recognition. There is growing interest in replicating the program in other areas.
FFP OTINIBI: A Fresh Start
With FFP thriving in both India and Nepal, the decision was made to expand the program to another continent. The village of Otinibi, on the outskirts of Accra, the capital of Ghana, was chosen partly because of the hardship its 1,500 residents endure. Most are farmers by trade, but due to poor soil conditions and unpredictable weather patterns, there is barely enough food grown to eat. The strongest residents often work for food by breaking up rocks for road building.
The FFP facility is located next to the school on land donated by Chief Nii Kweidza Mansa. The beautiful new facility has now been in operation since May 15, 2012, managed by the Prembaf Ghana foundation. The number of meals served on weekdays reached 6,200 in September and is steadily climbing. On the weekends meals are served to elderly people with few resources as well.
As in Bantoli and Tasarpu, school enrollment is on the rise, and teachers report increased attention from their students. By now the children have become accustomed to the routine of washing their hands, lining up for their plates of food, and then returning their dishes to be washed.
Joseph Nartey, a ten-year-old boy in class five, comments, “Before the FFP feeding program, I was afraid as each school day approached because sometimes there was no money to take to school to buy food during break time. Now, I am not afraid of school days because Prembaf always gives us good food."
Kate Nagetey, a staff member of Prembaf from a village near Otinibi who does cleaning at the facility, said, "This FFP project has saved people from poor homes. Now the children can focus on learning and have become active. The project has helped many children to attend school, but has also helped some old folks to survive. I wish I had such an opportunity when I was attending school."
The Mayor of the District praised the effort saying, “I am overwhelmingly impressed that a philanthropic institution like yours and a great philanthropist like Prem Rawat have been able to help provide food to school children and the aged in Otinibi. There is no doubt that this facility will impact positively on the life of the school children.”
Abraham Akonai, a 35-year-old villager said, "This program is good for Otinibi and for the children because now they are very happy to go to school. Before, some children did not go to school sometimes because there was no money, but now most school children go to school because they are assured of a meal."
Clearly, new beginnings are already in the making.
More information about FFP is available at TPRF's Food For People Program.