There are 14 Special Units across Tigania West with on average 30 children enrolled at each. FKK provides morning porridge and lunch by providing 10,000 ksh per term time month to each special unit teacher. The teacher is responsible for purchasing food and providing full receipts for monies spent at the bi monthly meeting held of all unit teachers. Teachers use food preparation as a vocational training skill and the students are involved in the cooking when possible. Enrollment at the units has increased markedly since the feeding program commenced – being well fed makes attendance very motivating!
Special Unit teachers have identified the following three benefits of the feeding program since its inception:
- Reduced absenteeism in Special Units
- A higher number of disabled children enrolled in the Special Units
- Better Physical health of the children
In the words of one teacher,
‘In fact I have seen a big change since we introduced the feeding program. Our pupils have really improved health wise. Children who were very much emaciated have improved. The little they get at school is helping them. They go for summer holiday for one month and when they return they are not as strong as they were when they left us. At home many only get one meal a day. This challenge is very common, I hear it from every special unit teacher. The special units get little or no support from the govt or the families. Every school is supposed to get 2000 ksh a year per enrolled special needs child from the govt, but some units have received nothing for six years. A typical child gets 1050 a year but that money always comes through. It is complete discrimination. Main stream learners are asked to bring funds to supplement the govt monies, and many do. Special needs parents will not top up as they do not value education for their children. Many of our children don’t have uniform, but if we asked that parent to buy uniform we would never see that child again.’