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Free meals aid Guizhou rural school students

By Cui Jia (China Daily)

08:45, May 28, 2012

The students have a break before afternoon classes begin at Xinglong Primary School.(China Daily/Zhu Xingxin)

Central government program began in October and serves 26 million children in 700 counties

Zhang Lizhong watched students line up to fill their bowls with freshly cooked rice noodles at lunchtime.

Free meals aid Guizhou rural school students

The principal of Xinglong Primary School, which is in a remote, poverty-stricken village of Southwest China's Guizhou province, said he was pleased to see the 164 children are finally able to regularly enjoy the most important meal of the day.

"I'm not used to having lunch," said Huang Shuling, a 13-year-old girl, who is short and thin for her age.

Unlike many students in urban areas of China, where child obesity is becoming a problem, Huang's family could not afford to pay for meals at school before the free lunch program started in the village in January. "I just drank water if I was really hungry and waited to have dinner when I got home."

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