Since 2011, La Arena has improved more than 700 students’ nutritional status and school performance in the vicinity of the La Arena mine through its primary school nutrition program.
In five villages near the La Arena mine—La Ramada, Pena Colorada, La Union, La Arena and Raumate—approximately 27 percent of students suffer from stunted growth and nine percent are at risk. This is partly due to inadequate nutrient-dense foods available in students’ diets. To help resolve this issue and increase students’ academic performance, La Arena’s primary school nutrition program ensures students receive a balanced diet and sufficient calories for optimal growth and educational success. Indeed, La Arena renovated all five schools’ kitchens and dining halls to provide enough space to prepare and eat school lunches. The company also supplements students’ school lunches with food kits sourced from local products, including rice, lentils, quinoa, fruits, potatoes, tuna steaks and split peas.
Additionally, La Arena works to build the capacity of both students and their parents. La Arena built school vegetable gardens to provide students with fresh produce and teach the importance of a balanced diet. Students grow carrots, spinach, cabbage, radishes, lettuce and beets. Moreover, the company sponsored workshops for parents on topics such as how to properly handle, prepare and store food, the importance of a balanced nutrition for children and teenagers, and how to cook with local products.
“In the past five years we have seen both nutrition and school performance improve in our local area. We believe our support in providing students with healthy foods and educating parents, has caused these positive results,” said Percy Capuñay, La Arena’s Community Relations Manager.