ABU DHABI // A senior figure at the UN World Food Programme has declared himself "stunned" after a school in the capital donated nearly Dh200,000 to pay for meals for needy children. Finbarr Curran, the WFP's director of field and emergency support, yesterday accepted a cheque for Dh189,212 (US$51,560) from the British School - Al Khubairat. Pupils at the primary school section had been raising the money for a year as part of the school's celebrations to mark its 40th anniversary.
The 950 youngsters raised more than Dh15,000 by bringing in one dirham coins, and held sponsored events ranging from karaoke singing to reading. A teacher at the school, Phil Latham, ran the Dubai marathon to help raise funds. "I'm stunned at the amount of money raised. It's fantastic," said Mr Curran, who is based in Dubai. Mark Yeowell, the primary school head teacher, described the total raised by the three to 11-year-olds as "an amazing achievement".
"Some of the things were led by the school, some of them by the children. It's a way for the children themselves to do something that makes a difference, so they can feel ownership of the process," he said. The funds will be go to the WFP's school feeding programme, which last year provided meals for nearly 20 million children. Mr Curran said that, as well as providing food at schools, the programme encourages parents to send their children to school.
It operates in about 70 of the 80 countries in which the WFP is active. Mr Yeowell added: "Many of our children in the school are very well-travelled and they come from all over the world. "They don't always know that in the countries they visit there are needy children. This is a good way to give them an appreciation of the needs of others." firstname.lastname@example.org