Amazing positive health impact from KidsCan initiative

Yesterday I spent several hours visiting a couple of schools with KidsCan.

During the visits we were assessing with the principal the impact of various programmes that KidsCan operates in the schools, including some I’d never heard of before the visits.

Most people know that KidsCan provides food in schools in conjunction with major corporates, but they also provide raincoats, jackets, shoes and nit treatment.

Both schools said that the Warriors-branded jackets were very popular and had made a difference with keeping kids warm in winter months.


What I found enlightening is that both schools refused to talk about poverty. Both were decile 3 schools, but were previously decile 2 schools. Changes in the neighbourhood have seen their decile ratings improve and, with that a significant improvement of parental involvement, the health of the children and attendance at school. But they simply refused to discuss poverty.

One principal stated that the pimping of the poor and poverty had led to stigmatisation of kids, so much so that getting them and their families help was made more difficult. He has been the principal at that school for 21 years, but I found him refreshing, vibrant and enthusiastic rather than the usual visage of teachers or principals that media parade before us who are usually broken, miserable and whinging.

Not this guy.

But during the discussion an interesting revelation came up. When asked what the single biggest positive impact was that had been achieved at the school with a KidsCan programme, he named the hand sanitiser and tissues initiative. Furthermore he stated that he had the data to prove it from attendance records.

I asked what impact?

He said since hand sanitiser had been introduced and their regime of washing hands before morning break, lunchtime and afternoon break, there had been significantly and measurably reduced sick days for kids at his school. He said he can show in the data when it was introduced and he believed that the flow-on from the programme went back with the kids to home and they were practising better hygiene there as well.

This was a revelation to KidsCan as well. When I spoke to Julie the CEO later in the day to reflect on what I had learned I asked her to check the records of other schools…that they may well have stumbled onto something here. It is something that is being investigated.

Both schools I visited love the work that KidsCan is doing, with one school hesitant  to enter the programme originally and now wishes they’d joined sooner.

I was left impressed by both schools and both principals.

Meanwhile I will continue my visits with KidsCan and look at the valuable work they are doing in schools.

If you feel you can help you can donate online or perhaps sponsor a child.

KidsCan is making a real difference and I have seen it with my own eyes.



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  • earthyundertones

    I have supported KidsCan for about 3 years and the reason has always been that they do good work, are not quasi-religious and don’t try and hit the headlines with the “hundreds of Thousands of NZ kids in poverty!” angle. They just get on and do it. I did lose faith a bit when the had the “lunches for wealthy donors” debacle but they really seem to have learned from that and moved on. Very happy to continue supporting them.

    • Fuzzy-Bottom

      You mean the fabrication by David Tainted Fisher? He has a real stiffy for wanting to stuff up KidsCan.

    • earthyundertones

      Was pointed out to me that the “Lunches debacle” was actually another hit job by David Fisher. Can remember my thinking now, but there is a good chance i would have recognised that at the time which is why I kept up the support :)

  • Wheninrome

    Handwashing, – when I was at primary school way back in the 1950’s at morning break and before lunch there was stand over by the teacher so we would wash our hands, children are always too busy to wash their hands. It worked. It was a small country primary school.
    Hand sanitizer, I suppose that is the modern way, but I am told that actually just plain old washing with water does the trick at less cost.
    When I camped round Europe we did not dry our dishes with a teatowell, we all just waved them round, consequently there was no tummy bugs among the campers in our group, a wonderful Tour Group called Contiki which was started by New Zealanders, I digress.