Khayr Qatarna, a Your Health First – Sahtak Awalan initiative, has installed state-of-the-art greenhouses at three Qatar Foundation (QF) schools to teach students important lessons about food security, environmental sustainability and healthy eating.
QF’s Pre-University Education and Your Health First have collaborated to build the climate-controlled greenhouses at Qatar Academy Al Khor, Renad Academy and Qatar Academy Al Wakra, giving more than one thousand students the chance to take hands-on lessons in how to cultivate a wide range of fresh produce, including tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, strawberries and peppers, among other varieties.
As a part of Your Health First – Sahtak Awalan, which is the flagship public health campaign of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, Khayr Qatarna was launched in 2018 to boost self-sufficiency in Qatar at the same time as helping the younger generation avoid non-communicable diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes by teaching them the importance of a healthy, balanced diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables.
Buthaina Ali al-Nuaimi, president of Pre-University Education, QF, said: “It is wonderful that, with the Khayr Qatarna greenhouses, we are able to teach our students at Qatar Foundation schools about food security, environmental issues and healthy eating by actually letting them get their hands in the soil and seeing the plants thrive under their careful stewardship. This is a truly rich and compelling educational experience and it supports the theoretical lessons the students learn in science class, as well as helping them appreciate where their food comes from and making them very enthusiastic about healthy eating.”
In the initial phase of Khayr Qatarna, greenhouses were installed at ten secondary schools across Qatar.
Many tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables have already been harvested, with the produce distributed with Khayr Qatarna branding to the community through local supermarkets.
All the crops have been granted the status of ‘Premium Products’ by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, which has provided valuable support and advice to Khayr Qatarna.
Seeing the production process progress through the stages of cultivation, harvest and distribution also provides valuable lessons to the students about economics, agriculture and logistics.
“It is absolutely crucial that we not only teach the younger generation about healthy eating and food security but that we also inspire them and give them opportunities to put these lessons into practice through practical initiatives like Khayr Qatarna,” Nesreen al-Rifai, chief communications officer at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, added.
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