Kids starve at boarding schools


e=”MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt”>BULAWAYO – Thousands of students at boarding schools in Bulawayo and Matebeleland North provinces face starvation owing to critical shortage of food, mainly mealie meal.

Headmasters from the two regions have written letters to the Education ministry appealing for urgent assistance to save students from starving. “Please be advised that boarding schools in the two provinces are struggling to secure mealie meal from the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). The situation has become unbearable in the past two weeks, despite introducing food rationing. If the situation deteriorates further in the next weeks we would be left with no choice but close schools early,” reads part of the letter.

Officials at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex in Bulawayo, where ministry offices are housed, said the letter had been forwarded to Minister Aenias Chigwedere, but no concrete action has yet been taken.

Contacted for comment, GMB Public relations Manager, Muriel Zemura, said they were giving schools first preference in purchasing maize at depots.

“We have given schools the first preference in buying maize and it is up to schools to contact the depots close to them,” she said.

However, she refused to say whether there were stocks of maize at the depots.

The ministry’s permanent secretary, Stephen Mahere acknowledged receiving reports from schools that they are running low in maize stocks.

“That has come to our attention and we are looking into it seriously. But that the schools would close early is out of the question for now. All efforts would be done to save the children from starving,” Mahere said. Schools are scheduled to close on April 6.

At the height of food shortages last year most boarding schools instructed students to bring cooking oil and other basic stuffs to augment the school stocks.

Meanwhile, vast tracks of arable land are current lying idle as the so-called new farmers struggle to get inputs needed for intensive farming and lack the expertise for such a huge venture. – CAJ News.

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