Isabelo: feeding bellies and fueling minds
Organized by: Ashley Gamba
The Isabelo Project was started in 2009 by Chef Margot Janse of Le Quartier Français, a world-renowned restaurant in Franschhoek, South Africa, to feed the bellies and fuel the minds of impoverished local children.
With the help of a dietician, Chef Janse created an amazingly nutritious muffin recipe in the Le Quartier Français kitchen. The muffins are crammed full of goodies that meet all the daily nutritional requirements of growing children. These muffins became the perfect foundation both of the project and of the children's school days. The concept proved so popular among the guests and friends of the restaurant that Chef Janse was able to grow the program in the following years, expanding to be able to supply healthy meals to over 50 children in 2 different pre-schools, 5 days a week by 2011.
Then things really took off. In 2011, the Isabelo Project began to receive international support for its work in South Africa. A fundraising dinner was held in Chef Janse's native Holland, and the money raised enabled them to expand the operation to then feed 100 pre-school children, 5 days a week.
Chef Janse and her supporters have worked tirelessly to grow the program beyond breakfast and to benefit as many children as possible. Today they are also serving nutritious lunches, containing all food groups, to 180 children across 3 schools. These 180 children’s meals are all prepared by the Le Quartier Francais team, who selflessly donate their time and expertise so that every cent donated is spent on the children.
If that isn't awe-inspiring enough, the Isabelo Project now funds the Kusasa Breakfast Club, which feeds over 1,100 children in 2 primary schools in Franschhoek. The Breakfast Club began by serving porridge every weekday morning and has now been able to increase the nutritional value of the meal by supplementing the porridge with an egg 4 days a week.
Just as these growing children need constant nutrition, the programs that supply their meals require feeding as well. We are honored to have the privilege of visiting their beautiful homeland and would like to honor both the children and the efforts of the Isabelo Project volunteers by entirely funding the project to feed 1,285 deserving children for 1 day.