Dubai: Each dirham donated to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is enough to provide a child with a nutritious school meal.
Supporting this programme to fight child hunger, Choithrams supermarket chain in Dubai has concluded its second-year partnership with WFP, donating Dh1.3 million to deliver nutritious school meals to children in the Middle East and Africa.
Carrying out a four-month in-store campaign in 20 of its stores from September to December 2016, and encouraging customers to donate at the till, the supermarket chain collected contributions amounting to 20 per cent more than the previous year.
“One of the programmes we carried out this year was using the bar code, where shoppers were invited to make a donation that we would then match. We had a good validation process to ensure customers that their donation went to the point of need, by using technology to send the amount donated to the WFP headquarters in Rome and Milan, which was then uploaded and sent to Jordan and Benin and redeemed by refugees through a card at their supermarket,” said L.T. Pagarani, chairman of Choithrams.
This year, the company also donated Dh1-Dh4 to the WFP — the equivalent of one to four WFP school meals — every time a customer purchased selected Goodness Food products during the campaign. The in-store donations, which amounted to Dh424,920, will support the WFP’s school feeding programme in Jordan.
“Food is one of human beings’ most basic needs, and it is every child’s fundamental right to get a nutritious meal. Malnutrition and hunger rob people of the potential of a healthy future,” said Pagarani.
He explained the company made their yearly corporate contribution of Dh918,287, which will fund the distribution of locally-made school meals to 2,100 children in the region of Atacora in Benin and 7,800 children in Jordan.
The meals provided by the WFP work as a powerful incentive for poor parents to continue sending their daughters and sons to school. “For some children, this school meal is the only meal they have all day. So it has an additional win-win motive of getting children to go to school, and having a healthy meal full of vegetables, rice and lots of protein,” said Pargarani.
Thanking the supermarket’s staff and customers, Abdallah Al Wardat, Director of the WFP office in the UAE, pointed out that a world free of hunger is possible within our lifetime.
“Investing in zero hunger is the right thing to do and is fundamental to creating a safer, more prosperous world in which all seven billion people can be active, fulfil their potential and support their community,” Al Wardat said.
As the largest humanitarian organisation fighting hunger in some 80 countries worldwide, WFP delivers food assistance in emergencies and works with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience in the long term. As part of these efforts, WFP feeds over 18 million schoolchildren around the globe, which makes it the world’s largest provider of school meals.
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