The renovated kitchen at La Cumbre School
Our School Nutrition project has been very busy the first half of this year. Hot school meals were put on hold for six months while we took on a huge project in our partner schools: kitchen renovations.
In many of the schools, kitchen conditions were so poor that it was difficult to prepare students meals. At La Cumbre School, for example, there was no proper sink for washing hands, vegetables, or cooking pots. Kitchens lacked equipment like pots and pans, and the pots they did have had holes in them. There were no counters or storage space, so materials were stored on the floor, and the cooks (school mothers) were forced to prepare food on very old tables that were difficult to keep clean. At Nueva Vida School, the kitchen measured only 6 by 7 feet -- in a school serving over 270 students!
Even though the students had access to healthy food, there was no way to guarantee that the food could be prepared effectively and hygienically. After conducting an evaluation of the kitchens at each of our partner schools, we decided to partner with school leadership to undertake renovations at four schools.
Since the beginning of 2016, we have worked with leadership at Nueva Vida, San Andres, Pacoc, and Nueva Providencia Schools. At La Cumbre, we supported the installation of a new absorption well, new counters and shelving, and a new sink. At Nueva Vida, the kitchen was expanded, and a new roof was built to prevent leaks into the kitchen. And all of the schools now have new pots and pans and other necessary kitchen utensils.
Along with kitchen renovations, Pueblo a Pueblo educators have been working with the mothers who prepare the school meals. Mothers have learned to cook more nutritious meals using a variety of new ingredients, like spinach.
We began providing meals again this week, now that the kitchen improvements are finished, and we are very happy with the results--so are the mothers who will be using them!
Preparing food in the new kitchen at La Cumbre
Cooking a nutritious meal for our students
Pacoc School's renovated kitchen