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Interview: Sandra Schlossar – Hilfswerk Austria, Humanitarian Aid to Eastern Europe

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Building a global school lunch program to fight child hunger will require efforts from many sectors, including charities. Hilfswerk Austria is one such charity helping provide school meals to children and bolstering their education. Hilfswerk Austria has provided school meals in Afghanistan and Ingutetia/ Chechnya. Based in Vienna, Hilfswerk is committed to “development cooperation and humanitarian aid to Eastern Europe.”

Hilfswerk has also developed programs in other parts of the globe. In 2007, a severe drought struck the Republic of Moldova. Food shortages and higher prices were the result. School lunch programs were put at risk. Hilfswerk Austria took action to help schools in the town of Cantemir in Moldova by setting up a school feeding program for 742 school children and 255 kindergarten children. The program lasted throughout that school year.

Sandra Schlossar, of Hilfswerk Austria, talks more about this school feeding program.

Has the school feeding project helped families in Cantemir during a difficult time of high food prices?

Our project had a big impact in Cantemir town. Big part of the pupils are from vulnerable families. After discussion in the schools, we realised that before our feeding program many children did not visit school regularly. But when our project started the presence at the lessons increased up to 100%.

The conclusion is that many families have troubles with their revenues and the quality of their nutrition is very low. Some children told us that they did not eat sweets or fruit for 1-2 years.

Will there be a continuation of school feeding in Cantemir for the 2008-2009 school year?

The Mayoralty would very much like to continue the project. They will try to update the project and to find additional financial resources from their municipalities’ budget, but anyway it will not be enough. After discussions with parents only 40% are able to increase their monthly payments to the schools, the rest simply cannot.

How can people help Hilfswerk Austria in providing school lunches to children in Cantemir?

In this case every financial contribution and donation in whatever amount would be great for this project. Just today (June 23rd) I had a meeting and maybe we will be able to continue the programme; let’s see.

More information about the school feeding project in Moldova is available by contacting Hilfswerk Austria.

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.