WFP Bangladesh provided assistance to almost half a million pre-primary and primary school children across 4,300 schools in 2015. Pre-primary children receive a 1.8oz (50g) packet of biscuits and primary school children receive a 2.6oz (75g) packet, six days a week. This snack encourages the children to consistently attend class and is often the only food they receive in a day. As a result, WFP’s School Meals initiative functions like a safety net for food-insecure households and supports the education system by giving children another reason to come to school and providing them “brain food” while they’re there.
Here is the story of Adbur Rahman Matobbor and his son Emon, who live in Bangladesh. “My name is Adbur Rahman Matobbor and I am 42 years old. I make a living by selling fruits and pickles on the streets of Dhaka. My wife works as a maid in a school. We have two daughters who are married and we are now taking care of our 10-year-old son, Emon. He’s in the 6th grade.
“I sell seasonal fruits like mangoes and lotkon and pickles that I prepare myself. I get up at about 4 am to make the pickles. My family and I live in a rented house and we share a kitchen with other families. I try to utilize this early morning time to make the pickles, when the kitchen is not too busy.
“I used to sell bangles and hair ribbons and I would walk the streets throughout the day. Now that women go to shops to buy things, there is no demand for feri walas (hawkers) anymore, which is why I moved into the pickle business.
“I taught myself how to make pickles and it’s often hard to manage all the expenses that come with the business. I borrow money from my neighbors regularly, but I pay them back as soon as I can.
“My son wakes up at 8 a.m., when I am already out with my pickle van. My wife is out to work by then as well. He puts on his uniform and walks to school, as there is no time for breakfast and no one to prepare and serve it to him.
“Emon likes to eat the biscuits given to him in school (as part of WFP’s School Meals program). I heard that these biscuits are very nutritious, good for your health. I am happy that he can concentrate on his classes and does not stay hungry in school. I want him to be a doctor. I hope he can earn a respectable living that he will be proud of.”
Adbur Rahman Matobbor sells fruit on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Adbur’s son Emon receives a school meal, nutritious biscuits provided by the World Food Programme.