“Kindergarten of Joy” is a small pre-school based in Mafinga, in the Iringa District of Tanzania. The kindergarten offers education and the space to learn and grow to children from the community, both fee paying and non-fee paying. Currently there are 135 pupils.
The pupils at Kindergarten of Joy receive two meals per day - a mid-morning breakfast of uji (maize meal porridge), and a lunch of rice or ugali (maize meal) and beans, which is a staple of the Tanzanian diet. This is a great start, as very few schools provide the additional meal of uji. However, the school wanted to make further improvement to the nutritional value of this simple meal by supplementing it with the vegetables.
D.R.O.P.S. Foundation supports “Kindergarten of Joy” on an ongoing basis with ways to support the school’s long term sustainable goals. With this project, we provided funding to cultivate an area within the school grounds to plant vegetables and provide a water source. The project commenced in October 2021 with the sourcing of labor and materials such as the cement, bricks, piping and stand for the water reserve tank; vegetable seeds; gardening tools; wood fencing; hiring a tractor.
This collaborative effort by D.R.O.P.S. Foundation will provide the additional nutrients the children will receive during the time they spend at the school as any of the pupils, particularly those from poorer backgrounds, may only receive one meal per day when at home, and cannot focus on their learning. At “Kindergarten of Joy” they aim to close these gaps from home by providing food which includes beans, rice, maize flour and vegetables which is their main food and more affordable to grow.
The vegetable garden will contain different crops; such as potatoes, cabbage, Chinese spinach and onions, carrot, maize/corn, tomatoes. This variety to the daily lunches will boost energy levels for the children to make the most of busy days at school, improve general health and lessen susceptibility to illness and to grow their bodies. Also, the food can be grown in all seasons during, raining or dry, since D.R.O.P.S. Foundation also supported them with the drilling and establishment of a borehole/well.
Whilst providing a more nutritious meal, the project also aims to simultaneously reduce the schools spent on vegetables at the market, making the school more independent from rising food prices and use the savings to buy learning materials such as textbooks, and bookshelves, desks and tables for the classroom where all of its kids seat currently learn on a mat on the floor, which makes writing difficult.