ISF resusable bags for food parcel delivery

ISF Embraces Reusable Bags for Food Parcel Delivery

ISF continues its commitment to improving the environment by switching to reusable bags for food parcels. While supplementing the nutrition of our students’ families is paramount, our impact on their communities is also important. Globally, 2000 children die from diseases caused by poor sanitation (WHO, 2016). Similarly, improper waste management threatens the health and well-being of those who live in the urban poor communities we serve. We don’t want to contribute to the problem. In alignment with our newly-drafted Environmental Policy, we aim to drastically reduce the amount of waste we create.

Chea Sim, Samaki School Director, at 2019 ISF Teacher Network-Building Workshop

Previously, each family was presented with single use plastic bags containing foodstuffs. Now, families are given a reusable tote bag to carry the smaller items in their monthly food parcel. The packets include a 20kg bag of rice, large bottles of soy and fish sauce, salt, sugar and cooking oil. When family members visit ISF to receive their parcel, they must bring their tote with them. By switching to this approach, over 1,000 single use plastic bags are prevented from reaching unofficial dump sites and waterways each month.

An unofficial dumping site in Chbar Ampov
Unofficial dump sites like these in Chbar Ampov threaten the health of community members

Food and Finances

One of the biggest barriers to learning for marginalised youth in Phnom Penh is income instability. Monthly food parcels alleviate the financial difficulties of educating a child.  Many urban poor families simply don’t make enough to both feed and educate their children. As a consequence, children are compelled to enter the workforce; sometimes as young as 5 years old. According to USAID, 33% of Cambodia’s drop outs state the reason they did so was to work. Our monthly supplements aim to make sure these children don’t have to work.

A Holistic View

ISF’s holistic support system strives to improve the situation for Phnom Penh’s most disadvantaged and marginalised. We do this with a mix of education, healthcare, sport and community projects. At ISF learning centers, we feed children’s minds and bodies with schooling and two school meals six days a week. Within their communities, our outreach teams provide vocational and skills training and on the pitch we use football to teach relevant social lessons. Topics include gender equality, conflict management, and increasingly, environmental issues.

As a part of our Environmental Policy we aim to extend our reach with a comprehensive  action plan. This includes introducing environmental stewardship lessons into our curriculum, recycling-centric waste management on our campuses, and waste reduction both within and without our walls. We will also partner with waste reduction organisations like Plastic Free Southeast Asia to help achieve our goal.