By Maria Gregoriou
OPAP Cyprus will contribute €250,000 to providing needy school children with breakfasts during the coming school year while the education ministry will pay €1 per day per child for a free breakfast.
OPAP Cyprus, a betting firm, made is announcement yesterday. The company approached the education ministry last year and will provide funding this year.
“This contribution will go towards breakfasts given to school children in rural kindergartens and primary schools in all districts. If there is any funding left over, it will be allocated to cover the needs of secondary schools,” education minister, Kyriacos Kenevezos said.
Kenevezos added that children are one of the most vulnerable groups during these critical economic times.
“Regardless of any of our problems, children have the right to grow-up in a safe and healthy environment, ensuring their all-round development,” he said.
The government will provide €600,000 funding for breakfasts, the same amount as last year.
An advisory council at each school will have a meeting to decide which children will receive a free breakfast.
“The criteria for selecting the children to receive free breakfasts depend on each school. They may want to consult the parents union or the church to see which children are really in need,” official at the primary education director’s office, Andreas Tsiakkiros said.
Free breakfasts for needy children will begin on September 16, after the ministry has received the number of children in need from each school.
The archbishopric, the Cyprus Red Cross, the Shacolas group, Carrefour supermarkets and other contributors to free breakfasts will also continue to help out this year.
Free breakfasts will firstly be distributed from contributors and the remainder will be funded by the government.
Every month the advisory board will calculate how much funding is needed by the government and inform the school board. The board will then arrange for the sandwiches to be available at school canteens.
Each advisory council will distribute coupons to selected students to be used in exchange for a breakfast.