R1.5 billion budgeted to feed poor Limpopo pupils daily this year

The majority of Limpopo’s 5.8 million population comes from rural areas.

Limpopo pupils, mostly from impoverished backgrounds, will this year eat meals at schools to the value of R1.5 billion.

The Limpopo provincial government and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has decided to fund a decent meal for every pupil during school.

This was revealed by Limpopo MEC for Basic Education Polly Boshielo during the tabling of her budget vote speech in Lebowakgomo at the weekend.

Boshielo said a huge chunk of the budget will cater pupils from impoverished families across the five districts of Mopani, Vhembe, Sekhukhune, Capricorn and Waterburg.

The majority of Limpopo’s 5.8 million population comes from rural areas.

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The majority of the families are poor and depend on government social grants to put bread on the table.

These families’ children are enrolled in 3,601 public primary and secondary schools from quintile 1 up to quintile 3.

The budget was welcomed by many, including parents of pupils from poor background families in Limpopo.

Joyce Lefophane, a mother of five from Bolobedu, three of which attend Morutji Primary School while another attends Khemarela Secondary School in Khethakone, shed tears of joy on hearing the good news about the nutrition programme.

“I am living with my unemployed husband and five children,” she said.

“I used to work as a voluntary food handler at Morutji Primary School. But now I am no longer working.

“Every morning my husband and I bask in the sun, thinking of where our next meal will come from.

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“But because of this programme, all my children come back from school with protruding stomachs, smiling from ear to ear, full of food from the school nutrition programme.

“Thanks to the government and mama Boshielo for taking care of my family, especially the young ones,” she said.

Another parent, Grace Letsoalo of Ga-Makanye, outside Turfloop, said: “This programme is for the poorest of the poor – people like me.

“Since the launch of this programme, our children no longer bunk classes and they are all happy to go to school.

“They now look fresh and active because of the healthy food they eat at school.

“Thanks to late president Nelson Mandela for bringing freedom in our lifetime because during the dark ages, absenteeism and dropping out were the order of the day,” she said.

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Department of Basic Education (DBE) Limpopo