This is a rural school in Siem Reap province in Cambodia
Covid restrictions, followed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused severe food shortages in developing countries
But some schools in the country have a Plan B – setting up “learning gardens” to teach kids how to grow their own food and cook too
This, along with the free meals scheme, ensures that no child goes hungry
They also test their maths skills while weighing their produce.
More than 1,000 schools around Cambodia have meal programmes supported by the World Food Programme.
Around 50 learning gardens were set up with help from the global rights group Plan International.
Before each day’s lessons, students are served a free breakfast of rice and fish soup with vegetables grown in the garden.
Long Tov, principal of the school in Chroy Neang Nguon, says the garden and meal programme has helped reduce the school’s dropout rates
How has the food crisis impacted Cambodia?
According to a study backed by UNICEF, malnutrition costs the Cambodian economy more than $400 million a year, about 2.5 per cent of the GDP
The World Food Programme says the prices of local staples have shot up in the past year
The United Nations Nutrition office in Cambodia says the rising food prices will only deepen the childhood malnutrition crisis
These vegetable patches in schools, however, have become a safety net for struggling families.