As a consequence of the war in Ukraine, prices of fuel and other basic commodities have been increasing at unprecedented rates in Rwanda and in the world in general. Food items have been raising the most and this has been a huge challenge for the school especially because the budget is limited and not proportional to the increase in prices despite the fact that some food items prices have increased significantly, In Rwanda food inflation stood at 59.2% in December 2022 according to the World Bank this is something that could have resulted into a food crisis for us as a school as the average price of the 8 main food items consumed at the school had increased by 50.8% in less than six months.
Again according to the World Bank Apart from adversely impacting health and nutrition, global evidence suggests that food inflation could adversely impact education outcomes, food inflation shocks can predict substantial decreases in children’s cognitive ability. Stunting and malnutrition rates are already high in Rwanda, with every third child stunted. A reduction in purchasing power for food expenditure either in the quantity or quality, may result in an increase in malnutrition and consequent decline in cognition and learning.
Due to the soaring prices, the school’s food budget was in urgent need of $4,500 top up to be able to meet market prices without a drop in quantity or quality of meals served to the children. Of these funds we had been able to raise $1,270 from individual school donors and supporters which equaled 26% of the target amount. Kulczyk foundation, a very important organizational partner of ours stepped in and agreed to fund the gap by providing us with $ 3,230 to secure the total budget needed for toping up the food budget until the end of the school year in July 2023 to prevent a potential food crisis which would have had a direct impact not only on the wellbeing of the children but also on their academic performance impacting theirs and the schools’ educational outcomes for the 2022-2023 school year.
As a result of the intervention, we have been able to top up our food budget for the last school year, this has not only resulted in increased food security for the school in general but has also ensured that the quality and quantity of the food continued to be as good as before. On the other hand, 83% of the pupils have passed their end of year exams and will be promoted in the next class at the beginning of the upcoming school year. This performance that has enabled us to surpass the 75% target that we had set for the last school year can be attributed to a number of factors and enough good quality meals for the children is surely one of them.
We are very grateful to both our individual friends and Kulczyk foundation for their invaluable support that worked as both the chock absorber in the short and medium term for the school and for the children who were able to achieve their learning outcomes hence impacting them in the long term. As we look forward to starting the new school year by the end of September, we shall be counting on to their continued support in facing the continued soaring food prices as food inflation stood at 46% as of June this year according to the Rwanda National Institute of Statistics. This and other challenges can only be confronted through working together as we have always done to ensure that the next year is a success for the school and most importantly for our deaf children.
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