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A school that knows its onions

By Liu Zhihua (China Daily)

10:50, July 26, 2012

Li Kui waters the garden's green onions carefully. As a teacher at the primary school next to the garden during the summer vacation, his job switches from teaching to taking care of the plants in the large garden.

"I am very happy," Li says.

"When students come back, they can eat those vegetables we plant."

The school Li works for is Fuhe Hope Boarding School in Sunzhuangzi Village, Zhangjiakou, Hebei province.

The village school is about three hours' drive from Beijing. Most of the students who board at the school are from poor rural families, and the school canteen plays a vital role to provide nutrition to them.

In August 2011, Kraft Foods China donated a kitchen to the school, as part of the "Kraft Hope Kitchen" program.

"Kraft Hope Kitchen" is a charity project jointly initiated by Kraft Foods China and the China Youth Development Foundation in October 2009.

The project aims to improve nutrition for children in rural schools and in schools for migrant workers in cities.

After the youth foundation identifies schools in need, Kraft Foods, together with its suppliers and distributors, will donate money to rebuild their kitchens, and purchase facilities.

To date, 150 well-equipped Kraft Hope Kitchens are in use in 14 provinces, benefiting 75,000 children, through providing hot cooked meals every day.

According to Gu Xiaojin, standing vice-president of the board of the youth foundation, the number of Kraft Hope Kitchens will reach 200 by the end of this year, and 100,000 children will benefit.

In 2011, it occurred to volunteers from Kraft Foods that, apart from a kitchen, they could donate an attached garden in rural areas.

The garden can provide self-produced vegetables and meat to students, so that workers at the school don't have to purchase food in faraway markets and can keep the food fresh.

As a pilot donation, in October 2011, Kraft Foods volunteers gave money and set up a Delicious Veggie Garden and a pigsty, at Shiwan Primary School in Huazhou, Guangdong province.

Now students and teachers at the school have planted vegetables and raised 60 pigs, which supply almost all the pork required, and 25 percent of the vegetable consumption needs for its 300 students.

"The Delicious Vegetable Garden is part of our continuing efforts to develop Kraft Hope Kitchen in China's rural schools," says Shawn Warren, president of Kraft China.

"It is an example of a sustainable charity program."

Warren says Kraft China is going to donate as many gardens to rural schools as possible. The new Delicious Vegetable Garden in Fuhe Hope Boarding School will provide about 50 percent of the food supply needed by its 400 boarding students.


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