0-0-1 (zero-zero-one) is a phrase that I was told can be heard around third world countries where hunger is rampant. It means, “I didn’t eat breakfast, I didn’t eat lunch, but I ate dinner so I am taken care of today”. It’s hard to imagine how to be thankful with just one meal a day but yet many are so grateful for just that.
These little ones are part of a village Community Based Childcare Center (CBCC) or in simple terms a preschool. The CBCC funded by SAFE and built by Malawians is not simply a building of bricks and mortar. It has become a place where little minds are nourished and tummies are filled. Often, in Malawi, little one’s brains will never develop as they should because of the lack of nourishment. The SAFE program not only provides early childhood education and basic life skills, but also provides a meal for every child who attends the CBCC. SAFE knows that full tummies make happy kids and happy children are eager to learn.
The meal provided for the children is not simply donated from SAFE. Earlier in the year, Gogos (grandparents) in the villages received fertilizer for their overworked crops. Some may have also received soy seeds to plant as well. Only one condition is required, that they return a small portion of their harvest for the CBCC. This in turn provides the meals for the children who come to the CBCC to learn.
SAFE’s philosophy is not about giving money or items then moving on. Rather, the process is about developing relationships, teaching sustainability, and allowing the village people to reap the rewards of responsibility.