Cherkizovo Group and Smenka, a social initiative and YouTube show, have successfully completed a joint project to renovate school canteens. As a result of this collaboration, three canteens (two in the Penza Region and one in the Altai Territory) got a modern makeover, with schoolchildren now having an opportunity to eat in comfortable facilities and develop healthy eating habits.
The school canteen renovation competition was held in autumn 2022. Six months later, all the three winning schools reopened the doors of their refurbished canteens to pupils. In April, a renovated canteen opened at the school in Sosnovka, Penza Region.
Shortly after, refurbishment was completed at School No. 4 in Nikolsk, Penza Region. In the thirty years since the school opening in 1993, its canteen had never had any makeovers. The school’s administration and 480 pupils were looking forward to seeing the renovated facility: with the floor and walls overhauled and old table pieces replaced, the canteen got a brand new look.
The canteen of the school in Sorochy Log, Altai Territory, also saw major refurbishments. The school was constructed in 1986 and its initial design did not provide for a dining facility: later on, the administration had to combine several classrooms to accommodate a canteen. Thanks to the project sponsored by Cherkizovo and Smenka, this spring the canteen was finally converted into a freshly renovated comfortable and light filled facility with cozy furniture. The application to participate in the competition was submitted by an ex-student who now works as a teacher in this school. All of the school’s pupils (there are 170 of them in total) have come to appreciate the new facility and developed a liking for it.
School in Sorochy Log before and after renovation
An important part of the new canteen design is information boards that tell students about the basic rules of a healthy and nutritious diet. The boards were created with active support of Rospotrebnadzor’s Healthy Eating initiative, part of the Demography national project, of which Cherkizovo Group has been a partner since 2020.
“We were happy to be part of this exciting and socially significant project. We hope that it will not only make the lives of schoolchildren more comfortable and enjoyable, but will also help kids develop healthy eating habits. Promotion of a healthy lifestyle is one of the Company’s key priorities,” commented Vsevolod Gribchenkov, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development at Cherkizovo Group.
“Healthy eating habits are very important for the younger generation. The earlier in life children develop them and learn how to choose quality and safe products and build a sound diet, the better for kids. As part of Rospotrebnadzor's Healthy Eating initiative, we seek to promote awareness about this among the youth by leveraging a variety of accessible formats. The school canteen renovation campaign, which was led jointly with our partner Cherkizovo Group and involved the installation of information boards developed in consultation with our experts, is a good example of successful integration: when schoolchildren come to have breakfast or lunch in comfortable and attractively refurbished facilities, they can learn more about healthy eating. We hope that this useful initiative will continue and its geography will keep expanding,” commented Yekaterina Golovkova, a Rospotrebnadzor expert, Deputy Head of the Center for Hygienic Education of the Population, and information supervisor of the Healthy Eating project.
“We have always been keen to show how the surrounding space can influence a pupil’s motivation to go to school. Positive changes can be brought about through simple steps – sometimes all you have to do is change the color of the wall paint. Knowing that so many schools have applied to participate in our competition is very encouraging. On the other hand, it is a disgrace that so many more schools are still badly in need of repairs. In our project, we sought to engage pupils, teachers and local communities in the refurbishment works to show that by joining our efforts we can make a difference ourselves without any external help,” said Arina Nuriakhmetova, a co-founder of Smenka.
The school canteen renovation competition registered a total of 494 applications from schools across the Company’s footprint in Russia, including the Kaliningrad, Leningrad, Moscow, Tula, Lipetsk, Voronezh, Penza, Orel, Kursk, Tambov, Bryansk, Belgorod and Ulyanovsk regions, Altai Territory, Moscow and St. Petersburg.