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Distributing food aid in a desperate situation

We started the February distribution of food aid this morning. The distribution I visited was in the vicinity of one of the schools I had visited yesterday. When I got out of the vehicle I met the lone teacher who was on duty yesterday. He had come to ask if he and his family could be included in the feeding programme because, as he had told me before, he has not been able to pick up his paltry pay for months.

The criteria for the food aid, which is agreed with the World Food Programme (WFP) nationally, is very strict and anyone who is “employed” does not qualify.  We explained this to the teacher and he told me that he considers himself a “volunteer” not an employee. “My family are also hungry and my wife is complaining that I do not bring anything home”.

Further discussion revealed that he had grown up in this remote and isolated area. He had worked hard at school and had worked in a number of temporary jobs before Save the Children supported him to go to college and qualify as a teacher. He told me “I am only working at the school because I want these children to have the chances had.”

For me this was a very moving experience and showed clearly the impact our work can have. The investment that we made over a decade ago on behalf of the children of this area is definitely paying off. But, I was also aware that unless something is done soon, even this most committed teacher will be forced to give up and try other means to support his family.

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