x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Dubai Cares for hungry children in Bangladesh

A philanthropic organisation wants to help improve the health of 88,000 children in Bangladesh through a school nutrition programme.

DUBAI // A philanthropic organisation wants to help improve the health of 88,000 children in Bangladesh through a school nutrition programme.

Children account for 25 per cent of the one billion people in the world who are hungry or undernourished, according to Dubai Cares.

Tariq al Gurg, the organisation's chief executive, said the impact of a lack of food and nutrition on children's education was particularly noticeable in Bangladesh.

The organisation will work with Gain, or the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, to help tackle the issue in the country.

"As part of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for Dubai Cares, we are constantly on the lookout for more opportunities to reach out to as many children in developing countries as possible," Mr al Gurg said.

"The co-existence of limited access to adequate nutrition and education in Bangladesh provided us with an opportunity to make a difference to the lives of the children that live on an extremely low-nutrient diet, and this is what led us to forging this partnership with Gain.

"In line with our strategic partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we have joined efforts with Gain to develop a robust, cost-effective and sustainable two-year school-feeding programme."

Limited access to adequate nutrition and education are reported across Bangladesh, and one of the main goals of the programme will be to address the needs of low-income families.

Dubai Cares and Gain will give primary school children fortified foods on a regular basis by preparing meals at schools, handing out snacks to students outside school grounds, and providing nutritional education for educators and policy makers.

"This partnership with Dubai Cares will provide invaluable support to schoolchildren in Bangladesh," said Marc van Ameringen, the executive director of Gain.

The project is designed to benefit children in areas with insecure food supplies and remote rural regions.

Both organisations believe nutritious school meals will encourage poor households to send their children to school and help keep them in the classroom.

Supplementary food with different nutritional qualities will be sourced locally to enhance the economy.

Dr Maneesha Phadke, a general practitioner at the Nutrition and Lifestyle department of Belhoul Speciality Hospital in Dubai, said this type of project was crucial in underdeveloped countries.

"Good nutrition is important in providing physical and psychological support to a child," Mrs Phadke said. "It's best to have food that is also close to nature in order for it to be absorbed the right way so they can get the right amount of vitamins."