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Kampong Cham school meals resume

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Kampong Cham primary school students receive free breakfast in Kang Meas district on May 17. MoEYS

Kampong Cham school meals resume

More than 8,000 students from 33 target schools in three districts of Kampong Cham province are enjoying breakfast at their schools again this year after a Covid-19 hiatus.

Phan Savoeun – deputy head of the Primary School Office under the Kampong Cham provincial Department of Education – told The Post on May 18 that primary schools in Kang Meas, Prey Chhor and Stung Trang districts have been enjoying nutritious breakfasts since March under the School Feeding Programme (SFP). The government reopened schools at the beginning of November last year.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SFP was temporarily suspended, but we were able to resume it in March,” she said.

She said that under the SFP, students’ learning had changed. When they receive meals, they attend school more regularly and achieve better academic results than ever before. Without such a programme, they are absent more often and their studies often suffer, as many of them are from poor families and do not get enough to eat every day, which affects their concentration.

“The cooking is done according to careful instructions. We are very particular in choosing the right type of rice and select natural products from the local communities to feed the students with,” she said.

Ros Soveacha, spokesman for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, said that not long after the government had reopened schools across the country, the SFP resumed. The programme provides students with a nutritious hot breakfast each morning and promotes community agricultural produce as vegetables and meat for the programme are produced in the community around each target school area.

“Students in target schools across the country expressed their delight at having breakfast at school again. The SFP uses only community agricultural produce and we are providing more than 270,000 students in 1,113 target schools across the country with a good start to their day,” he said.

Yi Kim Than, Plan International deputy country director for programmes, said the SFP was very important because it helps to attract children to schools and enables them to study regularly. He said the organisation has now implemented the programme at 221 schools in six districts in Siem Reap province.

“Some children face shortages. Their families are poor and they do not have enough to eat. Sometimes, they skip breakfast. When the schools provide breakfast, it incentivises these children to attend. These meals also give children the energy to study and promote the health of the growing students,” he said.

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