Each morning this week, young students eagerly await the beginning of the school day in Lagunillas, a rural community in the hills of Bolivia.  They know that coming to school today means that they will also enjoy peas, carrot & potato soup, and a buñuelo, a Bolivian type of doughnut.  For many of these children, this will be their main, if not only, meal of the day.

We all know that the brain needs food to function. Ten-year-old Elena knows that without food to fuel the brain, the learning that will take place is minimal at best. She tells PCI, “When they feed us at school I feel more awake and I want to keep learning.”

PCI’s school food program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is a crucial component of Bolivia’s educational system. PCI provides one meal per school day to approximately thousands of children in the regions of Cochabamba, Oruro, and Potosi, Bolivia. Like most places in the world, rural children face a higher risk of not attending school than their urban counterparts.

Raffaella Belanich, a friend & supporter of PCI, was able to go to Bolivia and meet children that are part of PCI’s Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. “Seeing the children thrive in PCI’s Bolivia program by offering nutritious food that encourages their parents to send them to school and enables the children to concentrate on their studies was a rewarding experience. I saw healthy, happy, smiling faces eager to learn – as a former teacher myself, it was very fulfilling!” says Raffaella.

Thank you to the parents of these precious children, for sending them to school this morning. It is to the parents who help serve and the parents who trust the program that we are most grateful, for they are trusting that the investment they make in their child today is an impactful investment for their community.

The farmers returned home and Stanley Mulemba cast his nets. Fish were then weighed and transported to the market. To the surprise of the farmers, the fish was sold at the price proposed by the farmers and accepted by the trader, not vice versa.

This one trade has empowered local farmers in Chinseu as never before, proving they can manage and direct the sale of their fish. After the sale, Mulemba could only sum up his joy with these words, “I have never made so much money in my life from a single sale of fish.”

Mulemba is already making plans to open his own retail shop to increase his earnings and build upon the lessons he has learned.