A GROUP of graduating students of Southcom National High School in partnership with Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) in mid-January launched a 30-day feeding program in their school located in Southcom Village, Zamboanga City.
With the theme “Feeding Program Builds Healthy ICT Educations”, the project aimed to address the nutritional needs of the school’s own students especially who are considered undernourished.
The launching was held in the conference room of the school which was attended by the school principal, GPTA president, members of the Interreligious Solidarity for Peace (ISP), president of the Rotary Club Central and some subject coordinators and students from that school.
Pilar Camille Quiroga, the class president of the IV Einstein, the class who initiated the activity, in an interview with PAZ Media said that the feeding program was the result of their brainstorming and individual efforts in their computer class.
“We had four groups in our computer class and we were asked by our computer teacher to come up with an attainable and sustainable project. When we brainstormed, the problem of malnutrition among students was unanimously adopted by our groups.” the youthful class leader said.
She said that after the group presented to the panel the issue on malnutrition, the panel approved it and suggested that it be the project of the entire class.
“We united with the other groups who presented that issue and we extend our help to them,” she said.
The whole class of IV Einstein with their teacher started getting the proper documentation from the entire populace of the school beginning from the freshmen up to the seniors to establish who are under the “severely wasted” category.
Severely wasted is a term used to describe a person who is undernourished because its height is not corresponding to the required weight.
The documentation led the discovery of some 20 students mostly from grade 7 to be severely wasted. Soon of these students were identified as “cooperating students”.
During the program Sr. Emma I. Delgado, Executive Secretary of PAZ, lauded the initiative of the students to realize the feeding program.
“Millions of people are doing feeding programs around the world, but this one (feeding program) is different from the usual feeding program because it is the result of the interactions of the students in their computer class,” she said.
The feeding program started last January 14 and ran for 30 days. Different stakeholders of the school like PAZ took turns to sponsor free nutritious food to the affected students during lunch time.
The study made by the group revealed that the severely wasted students are not only those who cannot afford to eat nutritious food but also those who are able but because of their lifestyle or habits they fall into this category.
It was found out that some of the students lack of sleep because they stay out late at night in the internet café playing interactive games. This problem is not only in the Southcom National High School since it is also experienced by many secondary students and even elementary pupils, reason why numerous net cafés had been sprouting in the urban places attracting potential netizens like the young students.
The Southcom National High School is one of the many schools that PAZ had established partnership with for the promotion of the culture of peace in the school. PAZ is actively advocating for peace in the city especially in the educational institutions where it provides skills training to students and school administrators on the integration of the Department of Education’s Executive Order 570 or the Institutionalizing the Integration of the Peace Education in the secondary school curriculum.
“At the end of the feeding program we are expecting that the students will become normal and will maintain good eating habits,” Quiroga said.
The launching was capped with a distribution of nutritious food to the students who are severely wasted and they took their lunch together with the other students and teachers.