According to the famous theory ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ food is one of the most fundamental needs — if hunger is not solved, it becomes impossible for humans to reach higher standards of needs like education. This theory asks us a simple question: Will a child be able to sit in a classroom with an empty stomach?
In an attempt to relieve children from classroom hunger, The Akshaya Patra Foundation began providing mid-day meals to government school children in India to ensure they receive both nutrition as well as education. The role of NGOs in India is increasing every day to reduce the nation’s socio-economic issues — lack of education being one of them. The Foundation believes that food for education will contribute to achieving economic stability in the long-run and will also improve every section of the society. 15 years ago, Akshaya Patra began serving mid-day meals to only 1500 school children. Today, it has progressed to more than 1.5 million children across 10 states in India making it the world’s largest (non-for-profit) run Mid-Day Meal Programme in India.
There are two ways many children in India are benefitting from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals — a wholesome meal every day to be on the healthier side and uninterrupted education despite the financial hurdles at home. Akshaya Patra has been working along with the Government of India and State Governments to reduce the number of children exposed to severe hunger. The combined and continuous efforts with the government have resulted in tremendous opportunities for children to attend school; for it is education that projects a secure future.
For India as a developing nation, feeding the future is a mission. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2008 states that more than 200 million people in India go hungry every day making food sufficiency an urgent priority. Despite economic progress over the decade, the report still highlights the severe hunger situation in India.
India has many challenges to fight. Solutions are many. However, if the country continues to focus on two aspects — food and education, the results can be what Planning Commission of India has envisioned for 2020 — achieving 100 per cent school enrolment of all children.
It is also The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s mission to target 5 million children everyday by 2020 and ensuring that these children are able to concentrate better in classrooms. You can get involve by joining Akshaya Patra in raising awareness about the programme as well as contributing to the cause. All it takes is Rs. 750 to feed a school going child and you can help us too.