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Thrive: Providing nutritious meals to children

Tue Aug 1, 2023 12:00 AM


Many children from poor families in Dhaka have never had a hearty meal in their young lives. They do not know how a mango tastes or how gratifying it feels to have a boiled egg. These are luxuries for them as their parents cannot afford nutritious meals.


When these children are given a daily meal packed with vital minerals and vitamins, calcium, and iron, they flourish just like children from well-to-do backgrounds. It is exactly with this objective in mind, the three kindred souls at Thrive, a trust that gives daily tiffin to slum children, are moving mountains to ensure that at least some of the children’s nutritional needs are met through a single school meal.

Thrive provides mid-day snacks to 10 urban and 3 remote schools and madrasas bringing under their net about 1,953 underprivileged children from Korail, Gabtoli, and Tejturi Bazar in the city, and in Habiganj, Cumilla and Bogura.

The “10 AM” tiffin from Thrive, which is curated by a professional nutritionist and changes according to seasonal availability includes milk, banana, nuts or dates, and eggs — all brain foods that keep these poor kids alert, agile, and attentive the entire day.


“Most of the schools, where we provide tiffin are Jaago schools. Jaago provides education to these underprivileged children and we provide them the much-needed nutrition,” says Sadia Moyeen, board member and Bangladesh trust senior advisor, Thrive.


“Since we are a registered trust, the entire funding is donation dependent. No corporate social responsibility programmes are willing to take up nutrition as their project agenda. Unfortunately, they are willing to provide computers but not a tiffin of milk and banana for these malnourished children,” says Kanwal Bhagat, board member, Thrive.

The project needs approximately Tk 10 lakh a month to feed these children.


The three ladies, along with the local and expat volunteers, made it a point to go deliver the meals themselves until Covid-19 hit the city. Now, they have an efficient vendor, Direct Fresh, who buys, prepares, and delivers the tiffin to all locations in the city.

“Mishal Karim, chairman and managing director of Direct Fresh, has been a great support to Thrive and has come forward to help when funds fell short. Pran provides us with milk, Purnava Ltd gives 3090 eggs every week, Homebound and Sajida Foundation, Big W, and Far East Knitting and Dyeing Ltd are the backbone of Thrive,” says Amna Rahman.

Thrive began as a tiny expat start-up by three mothers who arrived in Bangladesh in 2012. They saw hungry children and knew they had to help. Initially, they started to give bananas to 250 slum school children once a week. Now, 11 years later they are proving daily school tiffin to slum schools.

It is sad that big corporates or multinationals never include the idea to feed malnourished children in their CSR projects. Just a banana and half a glass of milk is all the nutrition they need to thrive.