A tiffin box full of homemade food

Thursday 20 April 2017

Wondering what his mother packed in his tiffin box excites Prem every day in school. Eight-year-old Prem is in grade three at a primary school in Saptari district and regularly brings home-made food to school.  Prem’s school, one of the model schools of the (former) Malhanama VDC, has achieved 90% result in inspiring students and parents to bring home-made tiffin.

“Previously, no one used to bring lunch in the school. We used to go home to have lunch and return to school for remaining classes. Many students would not return to school after lunch and teachers would have to cancel classes due to low attendance. This made me unhappy as we were not able to complete lessons on time”, says Prem.

After series of orientations on the importance of mid-day meal to teachers, parents and students, among 154 total students, 90% of them started bringing home-made meal to school, packed in stainless steel boxes. Prem is one of them.

Prem lives with his mother and two siblings. His seven-year-old sister is in grade two while his four-year-old brother goes to an early childhood development centre. His father who is a barber lives and works in another district for his business and visits them once a month.

Prem goes to school in the morning as he has morning classes in the summer and also attends a tuition class during day time. He aims to come second in his class this year. He thinks aiming first position would be a high target for him as one of the boys of his class is very intelligent. Prem’s mother cooks mid-day meal for three children.

“But now, we are not allowed to go home for lunch. Everyone must bring tiffin to school. This keeps students in school and we are moving really fast with our course. This makes me happy as I get to study all the subjects”, Prem adds.

Bringing lunch to school has also forced his siblings to remain in school. In the past, Prem had a hard time convincing his brother and sister to go to school after lunch at home. He would run back to school without them. “But now, when they cannot go home in the middle of the day, they are forced to stay here the whole time.  I am happy”, says Prem.

The overall objective of the program is to improve the effectiveness of primary education as well as children’s learning abilities. A tiffin box full of homemade food certainly helps.

By the way, Prem's favorite tiffin food is rice and potato fried with 'chatni'.