SAJIDA Foundation partners with Thrive to feed 330 students in 3 schools

SAJIDA Foundation partners with Thrive to feed 330 students in 3 schools

SAJIDA Foundation has entered a partnership with Thrive, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to delivering healthy food to hungry children, to provide food to 330 students in three schools.

Non-government organisation SAJIDA is sponsoring nutritious meals, delivered by Thrive, for all the schoolchildren of Apon Alo School (Rayer Bazar, Dhaka), Jaago School (Habiganj, Sylhet), and Ucchash School (SonPocha Char River Island, Bogura) from May 9 to August 31.

“Thrive’s work really brings us back to our roots as a school started in a garage. Healthy meals give children the fuel they need to learn and succeed in their education,” said Muhymin Chowdhury, director (challenge fund, partnerships and communications) at SAJIDA

READ: Ecnec rejects Tk 17,290-cr primary school meal project

Thrive has been delivering meals to schools since its inception ten years ago and has served these three schools for more than four years.

Having SAJIDA sponsor all of these schoolchildren in some of the poorest areas of Bangladesh allows Thrive to move additional children off its waitlist.

SAJIDA‘s generous donation and willingness to ensure a healthy meal for these children every school day for four months gives us the ability to expand our reach and feed even more hungry kids,” Priscila Heffelfinger, co-founder of Thrive, said.

READ: 3 mn school children to receive food rations

While this programme marks Thrive and SAJIDA‘s largest effort to date, the organisations worked together in the past.

Last March, SAJIDA, Thrive, and the Amal Foundation teamed up to bring emergency food relief to Rohingya families displaced by a devastating fire in the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.

READ: All govt pry schools to go under midday-meal programme by 2023

SAJIDA supported the cost of 5,000 hot meals.

Feed a school in the Dhaka slums for 200 days

Feed a school in the Dhaka slums for 200 days

Teachers and students rejoiced when schools across Bangladesh reopened back in September after one and a half years of distance learning. However, due to a surge in Omicron cases, schools were once again forced to close at the end of January for two weeks. Unfortunately, the closure was extended recently for an additional two weeks seemingly because of the rise in Covid cases among students. Schools are expected to reopen at the end of February.

While students at Piet Van are disappointed about returning to distance learning, they continue to stay positive and work hard. They visit the school twice a week to receive their lessons and homework from teachers. Twenty-two students have successfully graduated from Piet Van and moved on to Grade 6 at a secondary school. The kindergarten class has recently welcomed new students who are very excited to be attending school.

Thrive greatly appreciates the support from our donors! Please feel free to share our story!

One Hungry Belly at a Time

One Hungry Belly at a Time

| REAL LIFE: Gina Gabel |

One Hungry Belly at a Time


Stepping foot into Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, stung Gina Gabel’s heart so deeply she simply just couldn’t look away.

“When you arrive, your senses are just inundated with sights and sounds and smells. You are immediately shocked by everything around you and then you see these kids that are babies, moms holding babies, begging for food. There’s people everywhere begging for food. I think that was the most shocking thing, I couldn’t sit with it. I had to do something,” she says.

A special and general ed teacher, she intended to volunteer teach while her husband was on diplomatic assignment there. On her first school visit, she asked the director about the school’s biggest need. The not-so-simple answer: hunger. The school had 2 cents a week to spend on food for each child. So Gabel committed to bringing 250 bananas on her next visit. She took to Facebook and soon all of her friends jumped in to help. She was able to fill her BOB stroller with the 250 bananas, plus eggs, carrots and cucumbers. “It’s astounding how inexpensive it is to nourish a child,” says the Grosse Pointe mom of three, Lucy, 14, Alice, 12, and Etta, 8.

The nonprofit that sprang out of that early effort to provide bananas, Thrive, now provides about 3,000 kids 15,000 meals a week in Bangladesh and the Philippines. It’s helped school attendance soar, kids’ health improve and interestingly during the pandemic, reduced child marriage, she says.

Thrive is, literally, helping kids thrive.

Advice to other parents to raise kids who care

Gabel believes parents can help their kids by giving them opportunities to see problems around them and the tools to do something about it. While the need in metro Detroit isn’t thrown in your face as it is in Dhaka, it’s here, she says.

“I really believe kids are born with this desire to help and to right a wrong. … As they grow and try to make sense of the world, they realize that’s wrong (that) this child doesn’t have food,” she says.

Thrive also is a movement that families can do together. Gabel’s girls have taken it to heart as well, donating their birthdays every year to raise money for food instead of seeking presents, and so many others are doing school fundraisers and lemonade stands to help.

The hardest lesson for her as a mom

“I think it’s a perspective issue for me. I think moms and parents can get so stuck in the day-to-day small issues that you sometimes lose sight of the present and lose sight of the gratitude you should be feeling and how lucky we are,” she says.

Just the other day, she says she was yelling at the kids because their rooms were messy. Yet she says it seems so wrong to even worry about that.

“There are moms all over the world who are looking for the next morsel of food to give their kid. If you can keep it in mind that there are people who actually have real problems that are life and death, it tempers your reaction to your own problems.”


“Ironically, making school lunches.”


“Watching TV. My husband and I, I think, have watched every single episode of The Bachelor since the beginning of time.”

What do you hope your kids say about you?

“I hope they respect me and I hope they respect how I spend my time. I guess they don’t have to like me, but that’s a bonus if they like me in the process.”

One things that would surprise people 
about you:

“I squeezed a Half-Ironman into a day of being a mom” (hosted a kids’ sleepover, called in a sitter while completing the run portion, returned home to make pancakes for the kids, got another sitter and did the 56-mile bike ride and 2-mile swim.)

How do you 
manage it all?

“I find myself over volunteering myself because if I think something is important, I say yes. It’s hard to find a balance in where I want to place my time. I don’t do it very well and yes it’s hard. I don’t have very many tips.”

How to Help

Donate: $10 a month provides healthy, fresh daily meals for a month to a child.
Spread the word: Get kids’ schools involved or family and friends to set up a fundraiser.

Bangladesh Schools Reopen!

Bangladesh Schools Reopen!

After 18 months of closure due to Covid lockdown, schools across Bangladesh have finally reopened. Students are once again back to in-person learning which to many families is a huge relief considering the challenges they faced with remote learning due to lack of a device or internet connection. Covid-19 protocols set by the Bangladeshi government will be enforced to ensure the health and safety of the students.

The students of Piet Van are so thrilled to be back in school with their fellow classmates and teachers. Many of them expressed how much they missed social interaction and learning in person. Zahid from Grade 3 says, “I am very happy to get back to school after Covid. My favorite subject is Bangla and my favorite Thrive food is apple.” Suraiya, age 10, is also very glad to be back in the classroom. “My favorite subject is English.” She particularly enjoys receiving malta oranges from Thrive. These green fruits are rich in Vitamin C and the kids love them!

Seeing all 120 students return to Piet Van brings a lot of joy but also a sense of relief. During lockdown Bangladesh has witnessed a significant increase in child labor and child marriage. Because of cut wages or unemployment, parents have had to send their children to work forcing them to drop out of school. Girls have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic as many families have married off their daughters in order to ease financial burdens. Often times the girls never return to school. We at Thrive feel fortunate knowing all the boys and girls at Piet Van have been given the opportunity to return to school and pursue their education. The support from all our donors allows us to provide the proper nutrition these children need in order to continue on a path to a brighter future.

If you would like to make a donation for Piet Van or if you would like to share our project with friends, please click on the link below.

🚨 #Bangladesh needs our help!

Flash floods have ravaged the north-eastern region of the country. Together with Jaago and Direct Fresh, we have organized a fundraiser on June 24th at Chows (see image for address).
You can also make a donation at (Choose “Emergency Flood Response in Bangladesh”)

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