Voahary is 15 and is a growing boy in the outskirts of Antananarivo in Madagascar. He sits restlessly in his seat at school, but today he’s lucky. His distraction these days is brought on by his desire to get outside and play, but it wasn’t that long ago that his lack of concentration came from hunger.

A rumbling tummy while in class is much more than a distraction for a child like Voahary, whose family is too poor to provide him with breakfast or lunch. When kids go hungry, they aren’t able to concentrate and lack the energy to keep up and get the education they deserve.

ADRA has begun school lunch programs in Madagascar, feeding 1,115 children during the school year with more than 20,000 meal packages.

Impoverished families often have to choose either food or education because they don’t have enough to provide resources for both. Schools in the area where Voahary lives had seen enrollment decrease dramatically in recent years. In less than five years, Voahary’s school went from more than 900 students down to 380 students.

ADRA supports education through several projects, including school feeding programs. These programs improve students’ learning and motivate parents to keep their children in school. ADRA distributes meal packages to six primary schools and one orphanage in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

In total, 20,050 meal packages have been distributed, providing lunches for 1,115 students. Each package contains a complete meal of rice, dehydrated vegetables, soy protein, and a seasoning packet fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Voahary’s father is a street sweeper, and his mother is a laundry maid—neither brings in much income, and they depend on their children for household chores and fetching water. So before ADRA’s program began, Voahary was using a lot of energy but not eating enough to keep up with it.

Regular lunches have transformed Voahary into an active student with big dreams. He hopes to become a physician one day so that he can help others stay healthy.