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A Fest with benefits: Healthy Eating Lessons Held in Tajikistan School

From March 4th to 7th, School No. 26 in the Dangara district, with the support of the World Food Programme (WFP) and SIFI, hosted a Healthy Eating Week for primary school students. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) served as a partner, supplying the school with new kitchen equipment as part of the WFP's School Feeding Programme.

The events of this week were aligned with the International School Meals Day, observed every second Thursday of March annually. Tajikistan, as always, actively participated in celebrating this significant occasion.

Unusual lessons, engaging workshops, and delicious dishes made the Week particularly vibrant and memorable for students, parents, and teachers.

The Path to Knowledge about Healthy Eating

Every day, teachers conducted educational classes where students learned about balanced nutrition, essential vitamins and minerals for health, and the importance of limiting the consumption of sweets and processed foods.

Each day, students filled out a tracker of healthy habits — a special diary of a healthy lifestyle. For the children, this was a novelty. Every day, they eagerly awaited the time when the teacher would ask them about their achievements from the previous day. Everyone wanted to boast about what fruits or vegetables they ate and how much drinking water consumed.

Teachers were very pleased with the materials developed by the organizers for conducting educational classes. "During the educational class at the begining of the school year , I briefly told the children that they shouldn't drink sweet soda, eat chips, or crackers — which they love so much. But today I provided them with the most useful and detailed information with pictures. And I myself learned a lot of new things!" shared Dilafruz Makhmadaminova, the teacher of class 1B.

Culinary Discoveries

School chefs also joined the Healthy Eating Week. Every day, they delighted children with new dishes from the School Meals Recipe Book in Tajikistan. The students tried bean borscht, kadushavla—a rice porridge with pumpkin, and Orzu salad. Vegetable ragout became the favorite dish of the students.

In addition, the children participated in a contest of drawings and crafts titled "New Dishes in My School Canteen," where they demonstrated their imagination and proposed new healthy dishes for the school menu.

Educating Parents

The Week concluded with a culinary master class and a meeting with nutrition specialist Matluba Khabibulloeva for parents. She acquainted the audience with the principles of healthy eating and talked about the healthy plate method.

At the master class, trainer-technologist Zulfia Fayzieva demonstrated the preparation of quick and healthy snacks and drinks from local products. The unusual preparation of dishes from simple and familiar products sparked lively interest among the parents.

The Week ended, but the journey to a healthy lifestyle continues

While adults learned to cook healthy dishes, children became participants of an interactive performance about tasty and healthy food. Helping the actors, they painted ebru on water with paints, played musical instruments, and sang along to a song about vitamins.

On the final day, guests from the Russian Embassy in Tajikistan, Maria Tsvetkova, the coordinator of the WFP School Feeding Programme in Tajikistan, representatives of the education and science department of the Dangara district of the Khatlon region, and others visited the event.

The most active participants of the Week received well-deserved awards and remained inspired to continue the journey towards a healthy lifestyle. Ramazon Kholikov, a student of class 4A, enthusiastically participated in all the Week's events: "We learned a lot of new and useful things. For example, about vitamins necessary for human development. We want to have more of such events in our school."

The Healthy Eating Week became a bright event, uniting different generations in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle and the formation of healthy eating habits.