Food-for-Life Nepal (FFLN), a non-governmental, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of marginalized children and communities in Nepal, recently hosted a stall at the Administrative Staff College in Lalitpur as part of the 15th Human Rights National Magna Meet 2023 held on December 8th.
Inspired by the teachings of Srila Prabhupada, Mr. Brijesh Lacoul, Founder-Chairperson, established FFLN in September 2015 with a mission to address classroom hunger by providing nutritious meals to community school children. Since then, they have been providing daily meals to over 10,000 community school children, paving the way for multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the primary focus on SDG 2: Zero Hunger and SDG 4: Quality Education. By directly tackling these two critical goals, FFLN creates a ripple effect that positively impacts other SDGs like poverty reduction, gender equality, and responsible consumption.
During Human Rights Magna Meet Day, FFLN’s stall enhanced the visibility of its initiative and campaign, with the Mid-day Meal Program being the major focus. Participating in this event provided FFLN with a valuable platform to advocate for and emphasize the fundamental rights of every child, especially those vulnerable children who have been deprived of education due to hunger.
Saroj Acharya, Executive Manager, FFLN, said, “Food for Life flagship program, Mid-day Meal, is a testament to our commitment to human rights. FFLN was motivated to participate in the Human Rights Magna Meet event as it perfectly aligned with our core objective, i.e., to ensure access to nutritious meals, education, and overall well-being for every child. Our aim was not only to raise awareness about our program but also to create a memorable and impactful experience for attendees, emphasizing the vital role of nutritious meals in upholding the rights of every child.”
The stall set up by FFLN at the event included a visually appealing table with FFLN banners and signboards displaying FFLN brochures and art and sketches created by children from community schools. Saroj explained, “We showcased how our Mid-day Meal Program nourishes children’s minds and bodies, boosting their education, well-being, and long-term prospects. The donation box invited everyone to contribute.”
The local community responded positively to the presence of FFLN at the Human Rights Magna Meet event. Visitors witnessed examples of how their work directly addressed critical concerns, from tackling child hunger through nutritious mid-day meals. Saroj said, “Many visitors appreciated the visual displays, including children’s art. Notably, a visitor requested us to broaden our working area for the Mid-day Meal Program, recognizing that our initiatives should not be limited to just the existing 26 community schools.”
He continued, “One impactful interaction involved a visitor who shared a touching story about witnessing the positive changes in a child’s life due to our Mid-day Meal Program, saying how it improved health and increased enthusiasm for school were directly linked to the nutritious mid-day meals. They expressed admiration for our advocacy efforts at the stall, emphasizing the importance of policy changes ensuring food access for all.”
The event opened up several doors for FFLN, which included several exciting collaborations and partnerships with local NGOs, human rights organizations, government agencies, private donors, and businesses, not to mention the media coverage.
Saroj Acharya said, “FFLN can leverage the exposure gained from the Human Rights Day event in expanding social media reach and launching fundraising campaigns. We can also publish reports and case studies documenting the impact of our work and advocate for policy change.”
Regarding the plans of FFLN, Saroj stated that three exciting initiatives are to be undertaken in the future by the team of FFLN. They are the development of a centralized kitchen, the expansion of the existing kitchen, and the promotion of education in collaboration with NGOs.
He said, “Imagine a kitchen capable of preparing 25,000 nutritious meals at one time with the ability to gain economy of scale. That is the mission behind FFLN’s centralized kitchen project in Budhanilkantha Municipality. The 5-ropani plot, generously provided by the local government, has the potential to revolutionize the meal preparation process. Centralized operations will streamline logistics, reduce costs, and improve meal quality control.”
He continued, “Our next target is Madhyapur Thimi Municipality, where we plan to provide around 5,000 children with daily meals. This expansion has been planned in collaboration with the World Food Program in Nepal and local authorities. To directly improve education, FFLN will be collaborating with NGOs such as Asia Foundation and Room to Read to make available course books, story books, and reading material (online and offline).”
Saroj Acharya concluded, “Our goal is to fuel the dreams of 25,000+ children daily within the next ten years. Every contribution, big or small, makes a difference. Anyone willing can donate online through our website or participate in fundraising events. You can also contribute your time and skills by volunteering at FFLN kitchens, events, or administrative tasks.”
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