Iberian Press for Fundación MAPFRE

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Confinement to combat covid-19, which led to the closure of schools throughout Spain, served to to demonstrate the importance of all those elements that went beyond the classes but that were equally key in educational matters. For example, the school cafeteria. And not only at the level of student training, but also in some cases as a pillar to combat malnutrition.

Child poverty has increased to 30.1% in Spain according to the 2019 Arope Rate, a situation that the pandemic has aggravated, widening the economic, social and educational gap. It is estimated that there are almost 2.5 million children in the country at risk of poverty or social exclusion, for whom a good diet is essential to develop, to have a healthy childhood and to perform in school. And here, again, the school canteen plays a key role, especially thanks to actions such as the Comedor de Educo.

Requirement for school performance

Malnutrition in the first years of life affects brain growth and intellectual development, while that adequate nutrition is a fundamental requirement to guarantee maximum school performance of students, according to several studies. And it is that many boys and girls go to school without having had breakfast and even without having had dinner the night before. For this reason, as pointed out by the Catalan Ombudsman, not going to the school cafeteria increases the risk of truancy and it has negative effects on the adequate nutrition of the most disadvantaged.

Given this, Educo dining scholarships Not only do they guarantee a healthy and balanced diet for boys and girls from families with economic difficulties, they are also an important factor in integrating these children into school and helping them improve their performance. “This is a program launched in Spain in 2013, the objective of which is to guarantee a complete and healthy meal a day to boys and girls at risk of poverty and social exclusion in school canteens”, They explain from the entity. Since then, it has reached almost 380,000 children, with more than 3,300,000 meals.

Donations campaign for the next course

Scholarships have already been announced for the next academic year 2021-2022, which will benefit around 2,000 children from 250 schools, providing around 320,000 meals throughout the year. To make it so Fundación MAPFRE has launched the donations campaign 'Feeding the little ones', which makes it possible to contribute to this Educo project to guarantee adequate nutrition in the school cafeteria for the most vulnerable children.

The donations received will go to support the cost of the dining room in a percentage ranging from 25% to 100%, depending on the real needs of the families. In this sense, the average costs of a scholarship are 3 euros a day and 468 euros a year.

The families of these children who receive the scholarship have not been able to access public scholarships for the school canteen or they have partially agreed and cannot cover the rest of the cost. And they promise to renounce them if their economic situation improves, so that others can benefit.

Collaboration with educational centers

The school directorates, together with the social services of the municipality, identify children in vulnerable situations, since they know first-hand the situation of the families. The amount of the scholarships is received directly by the Infant and Primary centers, public or subsidized. "To carry out this program last school year 2019-2020, we worked with 228 schools spread throughout all the Autonomous Communities of Spain," they add from the non-governmental organization.

“Throughout the course, we maintain a continuous contact with the directors of the schools to follow up and attend to the urgent needs that may arise. At the end of the school year, the schools send us a qualitative report on how the situation of the scholarship girls and boys has improved, as well as that of their families ”, summarized from Educo.

In this way, Fundación MAPFRE, through its donations campaign, seeks improve the quality of life of children in vulnerable situations through two fronts: food (with the improvements in health and habits that this implies) and school performance, with increased learning, integration and self-esteem.

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