Our Father's Kitchen, is a ''child-feeding programme'' in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia founded by Yasser and Manal Bagersh, who also own several restaurants.

Three community kitchens have been established and over 200 needy children/students are fed lunch daily to help them live a healthier life.

How did the idea for the Father's kitchen come about?

I run several successful restaurants in Addis Ababa. I feed people who have money daily.........and I eat good food daily. And while this is happening, I realised that thousands of children/students have no access to a single meal.

And how much does it cost? Less than 8 birr [about US 40 cents]. That just seems a bit too easy for that little money. I can actually save the life of a child.
That was a light-bulb moment.

One morning I work up and said, ''I will feed children, starting today. I can't wait another day.''
 And the journey began.

Tell us about your visits to local homes to assess if kids will be fit for the programme.

I am lucky not to to have to make that decision. If I did, i would select every child I see. Fortunately, we have volunteer social workers who visit children in the neighbourhoods of the different kitchen we run.

Priority is given to children who are suffering from different and difficult challenges such as losing a parent or both parents, living with a terminal illness, or those who have experienced abuse in some way.

So lunchtime rolls around - what is the scene like at the OFK locations?

I sit in the waiting area waiting impatiently for the children to arrive. I hear giggles, and my heart beats faster. The children arrive, wash their hands, and stand in line for their loving prepared hot meal.

You hear laughter and joy during this special time. I typically go twice a month usually taking friends with me for the visit the kids. Manal comes sporadically, but she usually prefers to visit the homes so she can have a deeper understanding of what their lives are like.

When you go home at the end of the day, what do you feel you have accomplished in both of your ventures?

Accomplishment, not quiet. I go home and ask myself how I could this day have been better, more fruitful, more meaningful. It's an ongoing process; the journey is continuously evolving and growing.

 What are your future plans for Our Father's Kitchen and your restaurants?

I would like to serve a better meal. I would like to change someone's life. I don't see much difference between the customers at my restaurants and the children of Our Father's Kitchen.

I want to feed more and more.........and make more people happier. It's that simple.

The World Students Society thanks Qatar Airways.


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