Our story begins in 2007 with the establishment of The Beehive Centre for Social Enterprise in Malawi, Africa. The Beehive, located in Chilomoni, was created to provide jobs & provide education with the aim of community transformation. With 9 businesses and 400 employees it is a remarkable success story. Profits generated are used to fund childcare places in the Beehive’s own Children’s Centre- “The Mother Teresa Children’s Centre”. The centre offers day care provision for children from 6 months to 6 years – many of whom are orphans or from vulnerable backgrounds.
In early 2015 the Beehive was financially self-sustaining but Peter Nkata, Beehive Managing Director, was concerned. He had received reports from his staff that nursery age kids were showing signs of malnutrition. At the same time the United Nations World Food Programme was warning that Malawi was about to face the worst food crisis in a decade. What could he do for these children?
Around this time Peter had a chance encounter with Sawako Nevin, a Japanese national living in Malawi. Sawako had been involved with a Japanese NGO who had begun school feeding in northern Malawi but were sending their last delivery of rice flour from Japan that year. What could they do for these children?
Hunger is not an issue of charity. It is an issue of justice. Seibo began as a response to the hunger of children in nursery schools and primary schools in Malawi who would soon be without food. School feeding began on the 11th of February 2016 and by the end of that year Seibo were feeding over 14,000 children in 40 x nurseries and 12 x primary schools. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one.
In conversation in Malawi in 2015 Peter learned the name of Sawako’s high school in Osaka was Seibo. The Japanese characters in the name embody a mother’s love for her child and for her child’s education. In the same way that a mother provides children for her children Seibo will do the same by providing a school meal for every hungry child in the world. “My mother never went to school, and she said to me, ‘You must love education, so that you can do better than me’. I am your mother and I am telling you, you must love education, so that you can do better than me, better than all of the teachers.” – Jane Obinchu in The First Grader movie (2010) If you understand that story you understand Seibo. Note: the movie tells the story of Kenya when primary education became free and has school feeding scenes
A meal at school does more than feed school children. It feeds their minds and improves performance at school. It also encourages parents to send their children to school knowing that a meal is available there. For families in poverty, this means a great deal. “Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the action of human beings”- Nelson Mandela.