By Gabriel Olawale
Displaced children of Otodo-Gbame community who now reside in Iwaya, Makoko and Onike area of Yaba Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, were full of joy when their nutritional challenges received attention from Newcastle Foods, a company that specializes in ready-to-eat Nigerian food.
Majority of the children whose parents could not afford to send them to school or give them three square meals daily, are being assisted by Linking Hands Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that provides them basic education.
Speaking during the delivery of another set of ‘Nau Nau’ ready-to-eat Nigerian food to the children, Commercial Manager, Newcastle Foods, Nsikan Udo-Osoh said inadequate nutrition is a serious threat and there is no talking about development when people’s nutritional status is ignored.
Findings show that between 13 and 18 Nigerian children die of malnutrition and related diseases every hour but school feeding programme remains one of the ways to make up for children that are marginally malnourished.
Udo-Osoh said: “We have a lot of children in this country who have escaped childhood period and carried over a lot of nutrition deficiency into early school years, but they are able to continue and the longer they live, the more nutritional deficiency takes effect.
“So the best way is to catch them at the school level and try as much as possible to make up for that deficiency through adequate school meal.
“It also helps them stay in school. It is only when you do that, that you can produce children who will develop the country.”
Udo-Osoh said as part of their commitment to boost nutrition status through healthy foods, the company was donating ‘Nau Nau’ ready-to-eat Nigerian food to the students.
“It comes in four variants, jollof rice with chicken, beans porridge, fried rice and egusi soup.
Founder, Linking Hands Foundation, Mrs Efe Farinre said: “For most of the children, feeding is a struggle that this partnership with ‘NauNau’ Food has come to solve, giving the children an opportunity to nutritious meals, as they learn in school.
And for parents, this serves as incentive because they are sure their children will get a meal in school.