Teachers Initiate, Parents Taking Part, Children's Nutrition Fulfilled

Leading a school that is on the edge of a cliff with difficult road access does not break Mr. Stefanus' enthusiasm in transforming his school into a Healthy School. This actually makes Mr Stef even more enthusiastic about proving that the elementary school he leads, even though it is in the 3T area, is also capable of providing quality education for children!

Leading a school on the edge of a cliff with difficult road access did not discourage Stefanus from transforming his school into a Healthy School. Instead, Stefanus is more eager to prove that the elementary school he leads, even though it is located in a remote area, is also able to provide qualified education for children. He took the initiative to mobilize parents to get involved in various school programs, up to the execution of the nutrition garden at the school which drew admiration.

"The children in this elementary school are almost all farmers' children, I think this also helps the school implement entrepreneurship programs, teach healthy food, and improve the nutrition of the students through the management of the nutrition garden. So, I am committed that this nutrition garden must work," said Stefanus.
Mr. Stef was explaining about their school nutrition garden during a visit from donors from Sun Life and World Vision Canada.

Teachers at this primary school have often tried to cultivate the land at the school, such as planting cassava to eat its leaves. Unfortunately, the plants are always devoured by wild animals around the school. But Stefanus enthusiasm to create a nutrition garden at school did not wane. He still took the initiative to discuss with the school committee and the community. For Stefanus, children will learn to live a healthy life faster by directly practicing growing vegetables that are closely related to their daily activities.  

"After I discussed with the community, we came up with an idea. The idea was to work with the community, to allow some of their land to be used as a nutrition garden," said Stefanus, "The land allocated was 2 plots and it was enough for the children to learn,".

Not only that, Stefanus also consistently encourages parents to continue this good practice in their own homes. He always sticks to the principle of 'Learning by Doing'. This means teaching nutrition through hands-on practice at home and school.

"Every day I eat vegetables. I harvest mustard greens in 2-3 weeks, so I like mustard greens," said Maria, a grade 5 student. "I used to only eat rice with coffee or rice without side dishes. Now there are vegetables," she continued.

The students' nutritional improvement is emerging. Now, the children lunchboxes is filled with rice and a variety of vegetables. Not forgetting the drinking water bottle which is one of the good habits implemented through the BOKS program.

"Because WVI through the BOKS program always supports us, such as supporting seeds for the nutrition garden," said Stefanus. He also admitted that his method of building relationships with the community was learned through various WVI trainings. "This is what I can do as a form of gratitude for the support that has been given,".

Stefanus innovations have had a good impact on children, teachers, and himself as Principal. This year, he was selected as an Inspirational Principal at the National Level, becoming a facilitator in various activities such as Teacher Mobilizers, Literacy Strengthening, and also for the Healthy School program.

"The bottom line for me is to always invite the community to work together. If there is a problem, I always communicate with the community so that there is always a solution," says Stefanus, who is a living proof that transformation in the community starts with the desire to step up and the determination to make it happen.

Author: Handri Rambas (vendor), Santo Petrus (Project Coordinator BOKS in East Nusa Tenggara)