Hunger continues to be a barrier to education and consequently a better life for millions of children across India. Many people prefer to send their children to work to support the family instead of sending them to school to get an education. Being out-of-school deprives these children of their Right to Education and Right to Aspire.
At the same time, those children who do make it to school are vulnerable to classroom hunger. As their families cannot afford two square meals, most of them come to school hungry, and as a result, are not able to concentrate on classroom activities. As a result, the very purpose of schooling is defeated. In these situations, a hot mid-day meal at school can go a long way in making life easier for millions of children and their families across the country.
Working with the Government, Akshaya Patra seeks to ensure that no child is deprived of education because of hunger. In providing one hot meal every school day, the Foundation upholds their Right to Food as well as their Right to Education and aspire. Nutritional meals ensure the cognitive development of children. Therefore, due importance is given to the nutritional profile of meals served.
Mid-day meals serve as incentives for children to attend school and for parents to send their children to school-instead of sending them to work to support the family. It improved the enrolment rate, attendance, performance and nutritional profile of the children and reduces the dropout rate, thus contributing to their Right to Education. It also serves as an economic support for the family by taking care of their child’s one meal of the day.
Nutrition and education enhance the physical and psychological development of the child. Moreover, the program promotes socialization among children by fostering the habit of eating together. In the long run, this practice builds unity among them.
One hot meal puts children on the path to a brighter future.