A flurry of activity. The sound of shifting dishes. Children shouting and laughing. Every day at Sreepur Village we prepare 3 meals and 2 snacks – for 115 mothers and 250 children each time! All meals are prepared and served in our 'Big Dining'.
Breakfast begins at 7am, with the children arriving to eat first. Our menu is planned to provide all the nutrition our children need and a typical breakfast includes, hotchpotch (a stew-like mix of vegetables and Chira, a kind of dry rice), banana, milk and sugar.
A snack at 11am, followed by lunch at 1pm. The older children eat again in our 'Big Dining', this meal usually a mix of rice, vegetables, peas, mash, fish and chicken.
For each mealtime many of the mothers congregate to feed in 'baby house corridor' while the older children queue to receive their meals, sit at benches to eat and wash their own dishes. A splendid scene at each meal. After the children have finished the mothers come to eat.
Another snack at 5pm, and then dinner is served at 8pm – beginning the noise and activity of our 'Big Dining' one more time. The menu for dinner is the same as lunch, and again the children eat first followed by the mothers.
A visit to Sreepur Village will inevitably raise the question of how so many mothers and children are catered for, let alone 5 times a day. This huge task is organised by our Lead Chef, Mr. Sattar Mia. To help him he has two assistants, and some of our mothers receive training to help him cook and serve.
Mr. Sattar Mia has been working in Sreepur Village for 25 years and with fondness he told us about his responsibilities and experience here:
"I cannot be sick, if I was confined to bed then the children wouldn't be able to be fed. I give a huge importance to cleanliness. The kitchen and dining hall are cleaned and always kept hygienic. The hall is busy for three meals a day, and if any contamination happened the children could become ill.
The most important part of my job is to cook all of our food with love and care. I feed the children like they are my own."