Watch Hunger Stop

My Community, My Story:
A WFP EMPLOYEE IN NICARAGUA

We’re pleased to present a series, in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), that gives voice to a few of the many individuals positively impacted by WFP’s School Meals initiative. Michael Kors is proud to support this program, which provides food to more than 20 million children within the education system of developing countries, every year.

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WFP employs around 14,000 staff around the world, with nearly 90 percent working in the field delivering food and monitoring its use. Here, we talk to Liz Maria Ubeda of Nicaragua, who has spent over 15 years at the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security—so long that she knows the names of parents, teachers and students from the local schools.

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LIZ MARIA UBEDA

TITLE:
Head of WFP office in the department of Jinotega, Nicaragua

LOCATION:
“I live in Matagalpa, but I work in Jinotega, both northern cities in the mountains where coffee is grown. The two cities are small and the majority of people are linked to the agriculture of staple grains and coffee. You breathe fresh air and the scent of freshly made coffee at all hours of the day.”

ON WORK:
“In my current job, I leave my house at 4:40am and I arrive at the office at 7am. The two cities are just 17 miles apart but the journey is long because of the winding road and steep slopes. I coordinate the work of a team of 12 people. We work with the School Meals program, which supports 926 schools in Jinotega, Nicaragua, serving 60,000 preschool and primary (elementary) children; with Purchase for Progress, a program that works with smallholder farmers in six cooperatives; and with the local emergency response committees. I participate in meetings with institutions that lead these programs, such as the Ministry of Education, but we also work in the countryside with rural communities in the production of staple crops (maize and beans) and in schools, with students, their teachers and parents. At dusk I take the bus back home to my family.”

ON FAMILY:
“I have two daughters, a 16-year-old and four-year-old. In my free time, I like to take them to the park and cook their favorite foods with them. I also like to give them a sense of how the School Meals program works. One thing they ask me often is, “Why do some children need to work?” I explain to them that they are privileged because they have a home, they have food, and they go to school, and that there are many children who don’t due to poverty.”

ON THE SCHOOL MEALS PROGRAM:
“I consider one of WFP’s achievements to be the change in rural communities where our work has improved the conditions of education and food for boys and girls. Not only do children receive meals, but they also have drinkable water in their schools and get their lessons in classrooms with good conditions.”

ON HER FAVORITE EXPERIENCE:
“Eight years ago, during a monitoring visit with the School Meals program, I visited a small rural school in La Dalia. The school had only one classroom where 30 students took classes and I noticed that there was a woman of about 25 in the classroom sitting next to the children.

“At the beginning I thought she was helping the teacher, so I was surprised when the teacher told me the woman was the mother of a 9-year-old student in the third grade. I spoke with her after class and she told me that neither she nor her husband had the opportunity to study when they were children because they had to work in the plantations with coffee and cattle. When they married and had a girl, they considered it a priority that their daughter study. But because they were living far away, the mother accompanied the girl every day to school and waited for her, always paying close attention to what was going on in the class. The teacher noticed her interest in learning and asked if she would like to join as a student.

“The woman was very happy and accepted the proposal. When she entered the first grade, her daughter was in the third grade in the same classroom. The children accepted her as one more student, never laughing or making fun of her.

“This was a life example for me because when you want to learn, age, distance or the embarrassment of sitting next to small children simply do not matter. I hope that this woman has accomplished her dream of studying and that she has completed primary school.”


For every Michael Kors 100 Series watch sold, 100 children in need will receive a nutritious meal from the WFP.*   To make a donation, visit www.wfp.org/kors.

*For every sale of the 100 Series watch, Michael Kors will donate US $25 to WFP. Please note that WFP does not endorse any product or service.