The beautiful thing about the InnerCity Mission (ICM) and the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI) school feeding program is that it doesn’t end in the school.  Even though the InnerCity Mission Network of Schools has closed for the session, school meals are not over! Bearing in mind that the pupils who attend our schools come from low-income families, we take the free school meals they receive while in school to their homes to help reduce the financial burden on their parents.

We depend on our partners to continue sponsoring school meals because you are making an impact beyond the four walls of school!

The InnerCity Mission, under the auspices of the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International, focuses on child nutrition and provides food security for children and families in vulnerable conditions through their feeding program. In partnership with governments, this safety net has the added benefit of bringing children to school and out of hunger. The educational and health advantages reduce absenteeism and improve food security for impoverished families.

Through our various programs and initiatives, the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International seeks to offer structured support for impoverished children across the world to guarantee access to qualitative education, medical care, and physical and spiritual nourishment thus enabling them to lead normal, competitive, and useful lives in their communities.

The vision for the InnerCity Mission for Children is a “world in which orphaned, deprived, excluded and vulnerable children in the inner cities live free of poverty and fulfill their God-given potential, thus becoming responsible and self-reliant adults, profitable to the society.”

The mission also operates a campaign to help students who have dropped out to return to school. The InnerCity Mission for Children supports a lunch program to ensure students’ nutritional needs are met so that they can focus on their studies.

The link between nutrition, poverty, and education

According to reports, millions of indigent children and families watch helplessly as their loved ones die because they lack the most basic necessities such as prenatal care, adequate food, clean water etc. Most of these deaths are from preventable causes such as hunger, pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea, and more.

In a recent study showing the correlation between nutrition and poverty, it was shown that nutritional imbalances reduce the capacity to work and concentrate.

Malnutrition is also a consequence of poverty, and the occurrence of malnutrition across the globe remains unacceptably high.

Malnutrition adversely affects the physiological and mental capacity of individuals; this, in turn, affects productivity levels, which contributes towards poverty. This two-way link between malnutrition and poverty creates a vicious cycle.

Studies have also repeatedly shown a link between poverty and education. Through basic education, marginalized people learn more about health and are better able to protect themselves and their children against diseases. The level of health among children and young people improves if their parents have had an education. This in turn increases their likelihood of receiving, and benefiting from, an education. It is important to remember that improvements in one area, benefit several others, and we need to constantly look for the most effective courses of action.

We also strongly believe that education can be the catalyst that breaks the cycle of poverty. Through various initiatives of the InnerCity Mission (ICM), we are reaching out to hundreds of thousands of children in needy communities all around the world, to try and provide essential tools for learning and nutrition for school meals. Knowledge gives children the power to dream of a better future and the confidence needed to pursue a full education, which in turn will help generations to come.

In order to progress socially and economically, there is an urgent need to recognize the burden of poverty and malnutrition and to take immediate steps to break the ongoing cycle. To achieve this target, it is important to understand what factors feed and reinforce it.

Any attempt to improve global nutritional status and to achieve the targets set by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG) requires a focus on alleviating poverty and simultaneously focusing on agriculture, social safety nets, early child development, education, and strengthening women’s position in society, all core programs and focuses of the InnerCity Mission and COFI.