A former teacher, childcare director and an early childhood lecturer for 14 years, Cynthia Allan understands how essential it is for children to have proper care in their early years. She visits the Food for People facility in Bantoli, India twice a year. Here are a few of Cynthia’s comments and photos from her recent trip to inspect the facility.
Although many of the children’s extremely worn clothes were all too familiar, I saw a couple of things I hadn’t seen before. I observed children doing handstands, cartwheels, forward and back rolls straight after breakfast. And toys. They were pulling two trucks along using string. Actually, these were just rectangular, two-liter plastic containers with wheels attached. But still trucks. Although I have visited this place many times since it opened, I hadn’t seen these particular children at play before.The Bantoli Food for People center is an impressive facility by any standards. It is scrupulously clean and operates like clockwork. The staff make the difficult task of feeding up to 500 children who come here daily to eat a nutritious meal seem effortless. The children obey the simple protocols of the center without any reminders from the staff. Consistency, dignity, care, and kindness are here in abundance.
I watched the children waiting patiently in line at 8:30 in the morning. They are at ease and focused on the job at hand—to enjoy what will be their best meal of the day. It is thrilling to see the change in these children.
When I first met the children of Bantoli, they were undernourished and shy. Now they stand tall and proud. Their eyes sparkle.
*Photos courtesy of Cynthia Allan