Imagine a scenario where you are neither influenced by the lifestyle of towns and cities nor have incessant access to even the basic necessities like water and electricity. On seeing your parents struggle to give you the best, you think, ‘I will study hard to become a successful person and give the best life to my parents.’
Similar is the story of Indu, a beneficiary of the Mid-Day Meal Programme, who wants to become a doctor to cure her grandmother – her sole caretaker, and provide free treatment to many like her. Know more about Indu here.
Mid-day meals are a major intervention to bring children to school on a daily basis. There are more than 120 million children in India who receive school lunch as a part of the Government’s Mid-Day Meal Scheme. Most of these children go to school just because they get free and healthy meals that they otherwise may not be able to afford.
History of Mid-Day Meal Scheme in India
The roots of the Mid-Day Meal Programme can be traced back to the times of pre-independence, where the British Administration introduced mid-day meals in 1925, followed by the French administration in Union Territory – Puducherry in 1930. From the year 1962-1963 school year onwards this programme was introduced in the states of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala and the rest of the States of India in the same order. By 1990-1991, twelve States had implemented the programme.
The Mid-Day Meal Scheme was officially launched in India in 1995 to provide adequate nutritious food to children and has been through many changes since. In 2001, the Supreme Court of India mandated all Government and Government-assisted schools to provide cooked mid-day meals to all the students.
The objectives of the Mid-Day Meal Programme are:
• Protecting children from classroom hunger that limits their focus in class.
• Improving nutritional status of children studying in Government and Government-aided schools.
• Increasing school enrolment rates and attendance rates.
• Encouraging socialisation amongst children regardless of caste or creed.
• Creating employment opportunities for women.
To facilitate the efforts, many non-profit organisations have partnered with the Government to combat classroom hunger and malnutrition in India. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an NGO in India that has been feeding school meals to children since 2000 and has been recognised as the world’s largest NGO-run school meal programme.
Akshaya Patra’s Reach in India
• 18,00,907 children
• 19,039 schools
• 52 locations
• 12 States & 2 Union Territories
According to UNESCO Institute of Statistics, around 2.8 million children, or more, aged between six and 13 years old, do not go to school. In a situation like this, free, unlimited meals are potential incentives for them to come to school. Akshaya Patra strives to support more children from challenging socio-economic backgrounds with regular school meals. It aims to provide unlimited food for education to 5 million children, every day by the end of 2025.
You can donate online to be a part of Akshaya Patra’s mission to make a difference in the lives of children.