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Our Hope This World Hunger Day!

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This World Hunger Day, here’s what we truly hope – win over hunger and all forms of hunger! As a NGO involved in providing mid-day meals to school children, we are not only targeting at eliminating classroom hunger, but we are aiming at enriching children with nutrition-rich meals – the only way to tackle hunger, hidden hunger, and malnutrition.

Infographic-World-hunger-day

Facts and figures based on FAO, WFP, Global Hunger Index, Livemint, and The Wire

Childhood is a memoir of sweet recollections. It kindles in one, inestimable joy that lives forever in our hearts. It plays a pivotal role in an individual’s development and how they grow up as social beings. If there is something called a ‘complete’ childhood, then it should comprise of innocence, enjoyment and self exploration. But most of all, it should comprise of food in plenty, a school to study and friends to have a sense of belongingness. These serve as the perfect ingredients for a happy and much desired childhood!

Now the begged question, why food?

Firstly, because it keeps the child alive! Secondly, “hunger makes a thief of any man” and finally, it prevents them from attending school. Hunger forces them into labour, depriving them of education, their right as defined by The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).  Above all, it stands between them and their classrooms.

Second important question, why school?

School is children’s second home. It is their seat of education. Education builds a strong foundation in children’s lives. It helps break chains of poverty that is inextricably linked to their future, their empowerment, their economic growth.  Education offers them a ticket to their dreams which are as diverse as stars of the constellation.

Third, why sense of belongingness?

Belongingness because, it is a child’s inherent, intrinsic desire to belong. The child desires to be an element of something important, something fascinating, and larger than selves. That sense of belongingness comes from a friend that the school helps in finding. After all, what is childhood without the sweet bonds of friendship? It is impossible to fathom the joy children feel amidst their friends. For them, it is the perfect feeling to know that they have precisely the right person/people around to live their childhood. Be it lunch time or school itself, nothing is complete without that friend!

Why are we saying all this to you?

We say so, because we at Akshaya Patra believe in the maxim, ‘feed the children’. Why we believe so, because that is our only answer to the question, ‘how to end world hunger?’ Our wholesome, lip-smacking mid-day meals attract millions to their school doors. The very thought of a meal is enough motivation for our beneficiaries to attend school, receive education, cultivate friendship and say bye-bye to classroom hunger.

Hence, this World Hunger Day, let’s celebrate childhood through our meals. Let’s feed the children in need who have every right to a healthy childhood. Let’s all come together as a community and endeavour to find ways on how to end world hunger. We should do so with utmost priority because every hungry child must be fed and education should be accessible to every child. Hunger must not be a threat to childhood because only when there will be no hungry bellies, childhood will be complete and lessons will be read in unison!

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Discussion Room

The life-sustaining drops – World Water Day

World water day

“Water is essential for a healthy life and environment. Replenish water bodies and make an effort to stop polluting the seas with plastic and sewage.” – Manjushree L.

“Every living organism depends on water for survival and we must save water now so it will be useful for future generations. I hope more farmers can implement sprinkler irrigation, a proven measure to reduce water wastage.” – Savitha M.

“The water cycle is an essential part of life. Water is very important for agriculture and generation of electricity. We must treat wastewater and use it for irrigation purpose.” – Bavitha K.

“Water plays a role in all aspects of life. We’re completely dependent on it. We must store and utilise rainwater for bathing and washing vessels.” – Vishwaraj V.M.

“Water is very important for building, agriculture, drinking, and general household work. Rainwater harvesting and water treatment plants can solve a lot of water issues.” – Santosh P.

These are the opinions of our future philanthropist, Manjula L.; future teachers, Savitha M. and Bhavitha K.; future singer, Vishwaraj V.M.; and future lawyer, Santosh P. They are all aware of the significance of water. But, is it possible for them to achieve their dreams without access to clean drinking water? Quite possibly not! Because, it is estimated that consumption of contaminated water takes away lives of nearly 1,000 children, each day.

Water is the quintessential element of life. It not only quenches our thirst but also affects our health and livelihood. So, what about those who have to tread miles of distances to reach a source of clean drinking water? Yes, there are more than 663 million people who do not have access to safe drinking water thereby affecting their health, growth, and progress.

Upon recommendation at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) for an international day to spread awareness about the significance of freshwater and how to conserve it, the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. Since then, it has become an annual event observed globally on March 22. Each year, this day is dedicated to a specific theme related to freshwater with the theme for 2018 being ‘Nature for Water’. This theme will focus on exploring nature-based solutions to tackle and overcome water challenges of the 21st century. Since our ecosystem has already undergone excessive damage there is a need to restore ecological balance and only nature-based measures have the potential to provide sustainable solutions for rebalancing water cycle and conserving freshwater. Backing this situation is the Sustainable Development Goal 6 that targets to ‘achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030’ while also targeting protection of water-related ecosystems and effective sanitation management. It is reported that:

Sustainable development

Mindful of this critical situation, several not-for-profit organisations have taken up water conservation as their core cause and many others have taken measures to save water in their realm of services. One such NGO belonging to the latter category is The Akshaya Patra Foundation. This Indian charitable trust works in the sector of Mid-Day Meal Scheme providing freshly cooked nutritious meals to more than 1.6 million government school children from their 34 kitchen units located in 12 states of India.

All the kitchens cook up a variety of nutrition-rich meals every day, making potable water one of the vital ingredients. To maintain hygiene standards, all the kitchens make use of RO purified water for its pre-cooking and cooking processes. Additionally, water is also required for other operational processes such as washing and cleaning of vessels, kitchens, equipment, and meal delivery vans. Being aware of the huge requirement and remaining steadfast in the hygiene and cleanliness standards Akshaya Patra has taken several steps to optimise the use of water in its realm of service. The NGO runs pilot projects in its kitchens focussing on every area of kitchen processes and upon achieving favourable results implements it in the daily operations. Some of the measures that have clearly resulted in reduced water consumption are:

Water conservation tipsIn conclusion, let’s be grateful for having the basic necessity called ‘water’ readily available to most of us. And, as our beneficiaries mentioned at the very outset let’s take tangible steps to conserve the precious drops so that everyone gets an equal share of this life-sustaining element.

For the benefit of children and environment, Akshaya Patra invites your participation in its efforts to conserve water. Share your ideas in the comments section and also spread the word in your network about the Foundation’s cause.

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