2021 is off to a great start for Razina Ess, thanks to FUTURELIFE® and Pick n Pay Smart Shopper. The two companies recently joined forces to run their Start Smart campaign and as the winner, Razina has received R50 000 towards her children’s school fees for 2021.
FUTURELIFE® Managing Director, Mark Bunn says that while the campaign highlighted the company’s innovations in Smart Nutrition, it was an important reminder of the critical link between a healthy diet and the ability to learn.
“Nutrition is fundamental for good health and development during the early years and if youngsters don’t receive a balanced diet, they will battle at school,” Bunn explains. “By giving parents great-tasting nutritional choices for themselves and their children, FUTURELIFE® is helping our future leaders start smart,” he explains.
While paying school fees will impact Razina and her family directly, for FUTURELIFE® caring for the children of our nation extends far further. In fact, the Start Smart campaign included a broader initiative which involved partnering with a school or NGO to provide meals for every child in the school every day for a year.
“Working with our partners, we identified not only one but two pre-schools for this donation. Starting immediately, the 120 children at Zenzele Pre-School and God’s Grace Creche in Cato Crest will receive FUTURELIFE®’s Unity Instant Porridge every day for the rest of this year,” says Bunn.
Unity is a nutritious low GI meal that positively impacts a child’s physical and mental development. A 50g serving of Unity mixed with water is the nutritional food equivalent of eating one egg, one-and-a-half slices of bread and one and a half teaspoons of low-fat margarine! It is also high in 15 vitamins and minerals.
According to Dr Marc Aguirre, this will make a huge difference in the lives of the children at the ECD Centres. Dr Aguirre is the Country Director for HOPE worldwide South Africa (HWSA), an early childhood development NGO that has partnered with FUTURELIFE® on various feeding schemes. These ECD Centres form part of the HWSA programme and Dr Aguirre says that the children they care for – who are all aged six years and younger – are in desperate need of regular, nutritious meals.
“Cato Crest is a densely populated area in Durban that is experiencing high unemployment. Few of the families can afford to pay for their children to go to school and out of love, solidarity and support, the caregivers refuse to turn them away. But many of these children are not getting enough to eat at home and this is affecting their ability to learn,” Dr Aguirre explains.
A medical doctor with years of experience in early childhood development, Dr Aguirre says that when children don’t receive the right nutrition, it can lead to mental and physical development issues.
“This can cause a child’s growth to be stunted which goes far deeper than just their physical development. They can also suffer cognitive delays which robs them the chance of ever achieving their full potential in life,” he adds.
Before Covid, Dr Aguirre says that 27% of South Africa’s children were stunted. Now the situation is far worse and there is a real urgency to protect these young children.
“We need to do everything we can to intervene and that’s why the partnership with FUTURELIFE® is going to be life-changing for these children. Unity Instant Porridge will ensure that they get good nutrition to start the day. Their tummies will be full, and they will have the nutrients and energy needed to concentrate, learn, and thrive,” he explains.
The Unity Instant Porridge being provided for the children at the Cato Crest ECD Centres is part of the company’s much broader feeding programme. Mark Bunn says that FUTURELIFE® currently serves around 150 000 nutritious meals a month to South African children.
“Every child deserves to start the day with a healthy meal. We want to ensure that as many children as possible enjoy this right, enabling them to learn and grow so that we are safeguarding South Africa’s future generation,” Bunn concludes.