When was the last time you did not receive or eat your meal on time? When was the last time you got those hunger cramps in your stomach? When was the last time you really had to go out of your way to get some food? How did you feel when your stomach was empty?
All these questions may either seem relevant to you or it may be completely irrelevant to you. But, the point is, lakhs of children across India wake up to hunger and go back to sleep in hunger! These children are living each day without the assurance of something as basic as food. At a tender age, their mind and heart revolve around the worry of ‘Will I get something to eat today?’ At a time when they should be playing, making friends, attending school, exploring and learning new things, their childhood is spent in looking for ways to quieten the hunger pangs. So, are we doing anything to liberate these children from this grim situation?
Well, before we go ahead with the programmes and initiatives being undertaken, here is a quick look at what happens when hunger plays its tunes:
The Government along with partner NGOs are aggressively working towards modulating the frequency of the hunger tune by initiating various programmes and services. The Anganwadi programme, Mid-Day Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), and the recently launched National Nutrition Mission are some of the targeted and potential interventions to address the child hunger issue in the country.
In this effort, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an Indian NGO has been actively working in the realm of providing nutritious mid-day meal to school-going children since 2000. Over the years, the NGO has also extended its service of providing wholesome meals in Anganwadi centres as part of the Anganwadi programme. The NGO is aware of the vicious cycle of poverty-hunger-illiteracy. So, in order to break this cycle, it is striving to provide unlimited food for education so that not only the issue of hunger gets addressed but also illiteracy and the resulting poverty gets countered.
It has been observed that the mid-day meal and the Anganwadi programme has effectively been able to address the issue of hunger among children. Studies reveal that there has been a marked improvement in the health and education levels of children. With continued efforts and effective implementation of child-specific programmes, India will be able to create a new tune to dance for by wiping out the current disheartening situation of being home to:
Be a part of the solution
The hunger pangs can be put to rest only when there is equal involvement of the Government, NGO, the private sector, and the civil society. It is never too late to take the right step. So, sponsor a child and help Akshaya Patra to continue providing the much-needed nutritious meals to their existing beneficiaries, along with extending its reach to feed more children. By supporting the school meals for children, you will support their education too. You will evolve from discussing a problem to becoming a part of the solution! Change the tune of hunger, today!