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Grow your own lunch - virtually

Complaints about school dinners are common. But for children in Pattaya, on the east coast of Thailand, devastated by the 2004 tsunami, getting any food at all is the issue. Many children miss school because their parents cannot provide a decent meal and need them for labour.

One answer has been to turn school grounds into "lunch farms" where the kids can grow their own meal. It's a project supported by the Pattaya Orphanage Trust, a Catholic charity.

Now the charity has created a computer game based on school lunch farms. The Thaitucker Trial, aimed at key stages 2 and 3, deals with sustainable development. Pupils are the Thai children planning the farm. With "seed money", players produce vegetables, chillies, cucumbers, aubergines, mitten crabs, or bak choi, a Chinese cabbage. The aim is to produce a balanced meal and become self-sufficient.

"It gets kids to think more about sustainable development, and how to raise money," says John Stringer, a former primary headteacher who helped develop the game. "We hope that they will recognise that the experience of children abroad can be very different from theirs in the UK."

Find out more at

www.helpthaikids.org.uk

www.pattayaorphanage.org.uk

Stephen Manning

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