Rebekah Windsor, Program Director, AOG World Relief Vietnam
Almost a full two years since the COVID pandemic hit the nation of Vietnam, many of our schools remain closed in an effort to protect the health and safety of the younger generations. In Central Vietnam, schools first closed at the end of January 2020 for the Lunar New Year holiday and did not re-open for months. Since then, schools have opened and closed again repeatedly, in response to case spikes, with the current closures having been implemented since late April 2021.
While these closures are undoubtedly a means to protect, there are also severe consequences – economically, socially, intellectually, physically, and emotionally etc, translating into very tangible and negative impacts in terms of food and nutrition security, given many households in Central Vietnam are still heavily reliant on informal food systems and income as the primary determinant of food and nutrition security.
This is why we our partnership with Food Plant Solutions is so critical. Establishing gardens in kindergarten schools that help provide a secure, fresh, and sustainable source of nutrition to children, ensures they can enjoy at least one satisfying and nutritional meal each day which feeds their mind and body.
With months of lockdowns, school closures, travel restrictions, and loss of income, food and nutrition security has understandably been jeopardised. Many young ones are not able to enjoy the safety and security of having their daily nutritional needs met due to the complex and nefarious impacts of COVID upon their family and community.
In turn, once schools are able to re-open, these gardens will play a critical role in strengthening children’s rights to adequate food and nutrition in spite of the challenging circumstances.
As such, we are extremely grateful for our partners who have supported these gardens over the years and look forward to the increasingly positive impact each garden will have on the growth and development of children in Central Vietnam.