As Food for People in Tasarpu, Nepal, reaches its second anniversary, its accomplishments are praised in a full-page article in the Nepalese national newspaper The Annapurna Post. At the top of the page is a colorful drawing of three school children sitting with smiling faces before heaping plates of food. Spread below this is a full-page article by Senior Journalist Krishna Murari Bhandari.
FFP Nepal is located in the shadow of the capital city of Kathmandu. Mr. Bhandari describes the village of Tasarpu this way:
“Though the village is linked with a blacktopped road with constant vehicular movement, it seems to be crawling in the Middle Ages. People here still depend upon primitive agricultural methods and animal farming. Their total production is not enough to support them for even nine months.”
Prem Raj Dhungel, professor of physics at Tribhuvan University and vice president of the Premsagar Foundation Nepal, which manages this Food for People facility, is quoted in the article. He explains that prior to FFP, “the children were skipping school to help their parents with household chores. They had to travel up and down the hills many times to fetch water from a distance, look after the domestic animals, and take care of their younger siblings.” With no one to prepare a morning meal for them, they either went to school hungry or not at all.
Mr. Bhandari visited the FFP facility and surrounding villages and interviewed the villagers and the FFP staff. He found that the children start arriving at the FFP facility at 8:30 AM. They use the toilet, wash their hands and feet, and then watch educational TV while their food is being prepared. When the clock strikes 9, they are served a wholesome breakfast and then go to school. After school, they go home, attend to chores, and have dinner with their parents.
Mr. Bhandari was especially impressed with the financial oversight of the program. Income and expenses are carefully tracked and made available to the public on the Internet. In the last two years, over 218,000 meals have been provided.
Mr. Bhandari cited Nepal’s possible lack of oversight in distributing foreign aid as his reason for researching the successful FFP. His biggest impression was summed up in this way: “A very remarkable aspect of this program is that Nepalese citizens have joined hands to help make it a success rather than just working for it to earn some money.” He cited several examples of his countrymen contributing to the project themselves once they saw what it was able to accomplish. He sees FFP as a model for foreign aid in his country.