Celebrated every year on 26th January, Republic Day is a moment of pride for all Indians. It is a reflection of the power of complete democracy as well as the importance of fundamental rights in inclusive progress of the entire nation. Akshaya Patra, a mid-day meal NGO has been working towards promoting right to nutrition and education of children for 21 years.
We have come a long way since 26th January 1950 when the Constitution of India came into effect making India an independent republic with a democratic government. During these 73 years, the country has made innumerable progresses and is now considered among the most influential countries in the world. Republic Day reiterates the importance of fundamental rights and the responsibility of each citizen that comes with it for the betterment of the country. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution clearly states ‘equality’ as one of its objectives along with justice, liberty, and fraternity. It promotes a system of equal rights, freedom and opportunities for all without any discrimination against any section of the society.
To further the objective of ‘equality’, many individuals and organisations have been relentlessly working with ‘less provided for’ sections of the society. Their efforts do not end at providing immediate support, but in creating a foundation for sustainable progress and upliftment thereon. Such initiatives highlight the role of NGO in India and the significant impact these organisations create at the grass root level, making inclusive progress a possibility. Among such organisations is The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a mid-day meal NGO nourishing school children with nutritious mid-day meals for the past 21 years.
Currently, Akshaya Patra has a beneficiary of 18,00,907 children studying in 19,039 government schools and government-aided schools across 58 locations in 13 States and 1 Union Territory of India. The Foundation is cognisant of the role of NGO in India and its role in specific with regards to upholding the right to nutrition and education of children. It is well-aware of how mid-day meal has been instrumental in bringing children from challenging backgrounds to school and helping them continue their education. Hence, it strives to ensure that each child receives their share of wholesome school meals that supports academic learning, performance in sports and co-curricular activities, and promotes holistic development. The meals also improve regularity in attendance and reduces drop-out rate – key factors contributing to uninterrupted schooling.
Every child, whether from privileged background or challenging background, is a storehouse of talents, dreams and aspirations. All they need is an opportunity to share, explore, and hone their creativity, ideas and talents. This makes schools the nurturing ground and an essential part of a child’s growth and development. And mid-day meal is a great incentive for ‘less provided for’ families to send their children to school with the assurance that their children will receive at least one full meal for the day. In order to benefit more children, Akshaya Patra seeks your support. This Republic Day, take action to ensure ‘every child is at school’ so that they grow up to be empowered citizens of the country. You can make a difference by either opting to donate to charity, engaging as a CSR partner, or conducting a fundraiser.
Children are the future decision makers, but only empowered children can contribute to the progress of the country. So, it becomes important to acknowledge the significance of health and education and make it accessible to children so that they grow up to be able, competent, and skilled adults. On this 73rd Republic Day, lead the way to progress by enabling and empowering children with adequate nutrition and rightful education. Your one step towards creating a change will uphold the fundamental rights of every child and soon manifest in the most desirable way.
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