Giving all kids the very best start in life

We’re teaming up with Whole Kids, an Australian organic food company run by mum and dad entrepreneurs Monica and James Meldrum. Plan International and Whole Kids share a belief in creating a healthier and happier world for all children. We are joining forces to deliver 500,000 nutritious breakfasts this year in Cambodia so kids in need can learn and look forward to a happier future. That’s around 2000 meals per day! We spoke to James about the partnership.

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James with Chloe, Sam and Monica.

We love your philosophy – a happier, healthier world for kids. What motivated you to team up with an organisation like Plan International?

We always had a vision of creating a business that not only contributed directly to improving the health of children by making healthier food for kids, but also used the power of business to effect real and lasting positive social change by supporting important children’s health and environmental projects.

We feel pretty special that you chose us, we know there were some incredible organisations in the mix for this partnership. What sealed the deal for you?

Children are at the heart of everything we do at Whole Kids, and we believe that it is creed that Plan International also live by. Shared values and purpose are critical to us in any partnership, and we’re passionate about how aligned we are with Plan on critical issues such as children’s health and nutrition, improving social inclusion and gender equality for children, and upholding children’s rights.

This year we have a big exciting goal of 500,000 meals for children in Cambodia funded through the sale of Whole Kids products. We love the connection between a healthy start for kids here and a healthy start for kids in Cambodia. How do you talk to your own kids about some of the challenges facing children their age overseas?

As parents to two young kids (Chloe, 7, and Sam, 2), it’s important to us that we raise conscious children who care as much as we do about the world and the importance of making a difference. To always be mindful that there are others who are in need and to consider themselves part of a global community. We believe the connection between kids here and overseas is a really important one. We all live on the same planet, so we are all connected. It’s important for children here to understand that connection and to also believe that they can play a part, no matter how small, in helping make the world a better place.

You mentioned your two kids, Chloe and Sam. Do you see unique challenges facing girls and boys growing up in Australia?

Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go in our tolerance of different ways of thinking and different cultures to achieve gender equality and diversity in Australia. We see this very clearly through our own children and the stereotypes they are starting to face at schools, in the media, and through their friendships. We also think the key to this is to inspire and engage kids at this early age - in the formative years. If we can help kids to see the world through different perspectives of the world, we can start to break down stereotypes at this age. We believe this will translate into kids as positive change agents and we will see a new generation of kids that show greater respect, tolerance and acceptance in diversity and equality for all people from all walks of life.

Do Chloe and Sam know what they want to be when they grow up?

Chloe and Sam are still too young to know what they want to be. Chloe knows that she can do anything she puts her heart and mind to, and we try to foster this by exposing them both from a young age to as many experiences as possible to help them find what it is they really love doing.  

What kind of world do you want to see for children in the future?

Equality, diversity, conscious business, conscious citizens that really care about the impact they have on the world and on those around them. A world full of great leaders who serve, mentor and have the capacity to love, care and foster human relationships. 

You can find out more about Plan International's School Feeding Program and our work in food security here.

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