Ever thought about how great a boiled egg and a little milk can taste? If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t. But consider for a moment how they might taste to children who rarely get them. For 350 school-age children in Yangon, Myanmar, the question’s a no-brainer. Thanks to a pilot jointly funded by Bethezer and Christadelphian Meal-a-Day, these children get this special – and nutritious – treat 3 times a week during the school year.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, is one of the poorest countries in the world though it is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. An estimated third of its population of 54 million lives below the so-called poverty line. In addition, affordable health care and medical services are largely unavailable for the majority and a common cause of death results from easily-treatable problems such as diarrhoea, malaria and malnutrition.
For many, relief is sought in migration to the cities where employment in the manufacturing sector may be found. Unfortunately, pay is poor (typically less than one US dollar a day) and both working and living conditions in the so-called industrial zones are usually crowded and unhygienic. Often, single persons and families are crammed together in single-room shanty dwellings, cheek-by-jowl with their neighbours. Sanitation and sewerage facilities exist in some cases, but are inadequate and pose a health risk.
For the children of these families and other children in disadvantaged circumstances, deficiencies in diet are commonplace and often lead to other health issues.
The one-year pilot provides the nutrition supplement at centres providing full-time care or before- and after-school care for the children.
The eggs and milk are boiled in large pots in kitchens set up for that purpose and are then packed up and delivered to the centres.