Yosin Shamsulloey © WFP Tajikistan

My name is Yosin Shamsulloev, I am nine years old and a grade three pupil at school number 36 in Jaloliddini Balkhi District, Tajikistan. I love mathematics, which requires a lot of concentration. If I am hungry, I cannot learn and concentrate on my classes. The school meals I receive each day are helping me to stay healthy and pass my exams. I do not want to miss my classes due to ill health because that will affect quality of my learning and especially in mathematics.


My classmates also say nutritious meals are supporting their learning and together during our lunch break we share information on the nutrients in the food we eat. It’s easy to understand what our bodies are getting from the school meals. Our teacher tells us healthy foods have good nutrients, such as vitamins, proteins and carbohydrates that are important for our growth, development, and learning. Through our classes on nutrition, I now understand the importance of having fresh vegetables, fruit, and pulses in our diet to have enough energy and be healthy, even when I grow up.


One very important thing is that we need to not only eat delicious food, but they should also be nutritious. At home I also tell my mother, “Please always cook nutritious meals for me, because it’s important.”


This is how my normal school day looks like – I am studying in the morning shift and sometimes I wake up late and miss my breakfast at home. But it does not matter if I don’t eat at home because our class goes to the school canteen to have our nutritious meals during an early lunch break.


I always look forward to my lunch meal, thanks to our school cook who prepares delicious and nutritious meals every school day. Sometimes, after our meal, our teacher takes us to the school kitchen-garden and shows us how to plant and grow vegetables. In the kitchen garden we grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and various healthy herbs our cook picks and adds to make our meals very tasty.  I am happy that these herbs are available throughout the year to make sure we receive tasty meals the whole year!


My teacher also tells us the health benefits of each plant, including the herbs. I really like these kitchen garden classes because they are practical and relate to what we eat in the canteen. They have also helped me to realise that fast food is not healthy. We drink natural juice made of dried fruits harvested from school orchard and that is very healthy!