Forgotten Burmese children focus of lesson for World Food Day

mushroom sheds

mushroom sheds

A school for some 700 'forgotten' refugee children in Thailand on the western border with Burma, called Hsa Thoo Lei, is being highlighted by the Thai Children's Trust for lessons across the UK to mark this year's World Food Day tomorrow (16 October).

A lesson plan has been drawn up for Key stage 2 pupils and above by teacher, Ruth Flanagan, Schools' Liaison Officer for Thai Children's Trust, to illustrate the plight of refugee children who are often malnourished, and to highlight the importance of eating a healthy school meal. As part of the lesson students are being invited to take part in an exciting competition to design an allotment for Hsa Thoo Lei. The winner will receive a visit from TV personality Joe Swift, from BBC Gardeners' World.

The lesson plan will also see pupils invited to donate the cost of their school lunch to help students at the school build mushroom sheds. This is a self-sustaining food project and donations will help to provide nutrition for these Burmese refugee children.

The mushroom sheds, which cost £400 each, will house pre-prepared spore bags. They are placed on racks in the hot and humid sheds.  Regularly tended, the spore bags produce mushrooms over a three month cycle.  For most of this time there are mushrooms available to supplement the diet of the children. Any spare are sold.

Ruth Flanagan says: "The children at Hsa Thoo Lei are vulnerable to malnutrition, especially as the school's income is very much below the levels required to fund school lunches. We are hoping that schools may help us by supporting our appeal for these refugees, using our lesson plans, sponsoring a child, volunteering or joining the Thai Children's Trust mailing list."

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