In a heartening stride towards battling child hunger, the Pink Room Foundation, led by Cristine Panday, has initiated a project in KwaZulu-Natal. What commenced as a humble effort by a former teacher, preparing sandwiches in her kitchen, has burgeoned into an inspiring venture, empowering thousands of underprivileged children.
The foundation’s relentless pursuit of ensuring no child goes to bed hungry has resulted in the inauguration of the Pink Kitchen, a state-of-the-art facility set to shake up the landscape of child nutrition. This multi-million Rand kitchen stands as a testament to both compassion and innovation, equipped to produce a staggering 5 000 meals daily, catering to the nutritional needs of deprived schoolchildren.
Reflecting on the inception of this remarkable endeavour, Cristine Panday shared her impassioned journey, beginning with a mere ten loaves of bread a day. Her resolute determination, bolstered by the unwavering support of her husband and the backing of Skyworth, evolved into a vision far grander than she initially envisaged.
Nothing beats a hot, hearty meal
“I wanted to provide a hot nutritious meal to the children. They couldn’t have sandwiches every day. I wanted them to have a variety of balanced meals. I realised I needed a kitchen and concept to enable me to do this,” expressed Panday.
The collaboration with the Cipla Foundation and the adaptation of Pebbles Project Kitchen’s successful model from the Western Cape have been instrumental in materialising Panday’s aspirations. The innovative approach involves preparing, blast chilling, and freezing nutritious meals, ready for distribution to schools, ensuring timely access to wholesome food.
Skyworth’s steadfast commitment, pledging R5 million over five years, signifies a unified determination to alleviate child hunger.
“I never expected what I started in my own kitchen to become this big. I started because I wanted to feed children. Having been a Montessori teacher, I know that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, which leads to a happy child,” said Panday, reflecting on her motivations.
With the commencement of meal deliveries coinciding with the start of the new school year, the foundation aims not only to satiate hunger but also to foster a conducive environment for learning and growth.
Hope for a brighter future
As Panday remarked, “The Pink Kitchen is a place that provides hope and a brighter future for so many hungry children.”
The department of social development earlier estimated that 38% of South African children suffer from physical and mental stunting due to malnutrition, emphasising the urgency for collective action against child hunger.
Amidst staggering statistics revealing the harsh reality faced by millions of South African children, the Pink Room Foundation’s unwavering dedication stands as a beacon of hope. In a world where hunger impedes potential, initiatives like these illuminate the path towards a brighter, nourished future for generations to come.
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