Over a thousand students from four different barangays in Batangas are the chosen beneficiaries of Kusina ng Kalinga, Republic Cement’s partnership project with Gawad Kalinga, part of its campaign against hunger and malnutrition. The Kusina ng Kalinga will offer free nutritious lunches for one school year to pupils from kindergarten to grades 1-3 of Taysan Central, Mapulo, Bilogo, and Pag-asa elementary schools.
“We partnered with GK because we saw the model of the Kusina as a sustainable solution to an age-old problem, with scalable results in terms of health improvement by the end of the school year. Our mission at Republic Cement has always been to strengthen and empower communities. Complemented with GK’s vision of addressing hunger among the young, we see this program as a step towards strengthening the future movers and shakers of the community.”
-PV Aquino, Republic’s Director of Public Affairs & Communications
The kitchen will produce a wide selection of meals to ensure that students enjoy a variety of dishes each week. The food served is aligned with the prescribed daily dietary requirements set by the Food Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) for children aged 6-9 years old.
Launched in July to coincide with Nutrition Month, the campaign seeks to address the common effects of severe hunger and malnutrition among underprivileged Filipino children.
“The root cause of malnutrition is that it is not approached proactively and sustainably. Conventional wisdom tells us that severe malnutrition must be a public health priority and while we completely agree, we want to give equal importance to early prevention for children who might be at risk and even children who are currently healthy,” says Jose Luis Oquinena, Gawad Kalinga’s Executive Director.
The Batangas Kusina has tapped mothers of student beneficiaries to help in the kitchen, from food preparation to distribution. GK and Republic Cement are also conducting parent-teacher orientations and mounting workshops to teach parents how to prepare basic, cost-efficient, and healthy meals for their family.
Believing that proper nourishment is essential to progress, Republic Cement and GK are looking to expand the program to more schools in the coming months. After all, stronger kids make for a stronger Republic.