Why free school dinners are so important (focus on Hall Mead School)

Hall Mead School is set in an impoverished area of southern Kenya, where there are many HIV orphans either living on the streets, or with a grandmother or a single mother, who in turn have negligible means to support them. Most are HIV positive. Their guardians can not afford the ‘luxury’ of sending them to school, and in order to survive, they are instead sent to work in the local quarries, often as the family’s main breadwinner.

Hall Mead gives a quality education to 350 of these vulnerable children, helping to break their family’s cycle of poverty. Crucially, we also provide food, which stops them from having to work in the quarries; helps them concentrate better; and also helps prevent child marriages for girls who otherwise may be ‘married off’, ie to have one less mouth to feed. Food also prevents malnutrition, which in turn can cause stunted growth and brain development, which is permanent.

Free food takes so much pressure off the family, ensuring the child will be sent and encouraged to go to school. 

Hall Mead has recently re-opened for certain year groups following seven months of lockdown, with most of the children returning in a poor physical state and virtually all of them being lighter than pre-lockdown. Their families could not afford to feed them prior to lockdown, never mind when they are no longer able to do any piecemeal work, exasperated by increased food prices due to locust plagues and new government taxes.

With your support, we would like to provide an additional school meal to those children who have returned. AND continue to deliver emergency food supplies to the families of those children who have yet to return. It doesn’t cost much to make a difference - £33 would feed a small family for a month and £100 would feed them for three months.


Posted on December 4th 2020

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