Categorically defining, youth is the crucial stage between childhood and adulthood, people falling within the age bracket of 15 and 24 years. The support received and the development undergone in this stage defines the future progress of a person, to a large extent. It is this category of people who has the ability to directly influence their individual lives and the progress of the society, making them an important section of the community. They are the torchbearers of the society, of our nation.
International Youth Day
The International Youth Day is an awareness day observed annually on 12 August since the year 2000. It has been designated by the United Nations with the purpose to address the cultural and legal issues of youth worldwide. Youths have been recognised to play a key role in peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. Each year the day is observed with a dedicated theme with ‘Safe Spaces for Youth’ being the theme for 2018. The theme expresses the need for safe spaces for the youth to come together, engage in various activities related to governance and public matters, partake in decision-making, and a space to exercise freedom of expression. In short, providing a safe platform for the youths to grow and develop into mature and responsible citizens.
Independence Day of India
India got its independence from the long reigning of the Britishers on 15th August 1947. It has been 72 years since India is breathing in the air of freedom. During these years, India has made huge progresses and developments in all fronts. It has established itself to be one of the most promising nations in the world. And, soon it is going to embrace the title of being the youngest nation with 64% of its population falling in the working-age group.
Is India ready for this new title?
Statistically, India is at the moment struggling with:
But, it is also aggressively addressing these disheartening and acute hurdles with promising and potential interventions such as:
Implication of these initiatives
Though it may take a while before we can declare India as a hunger-free nation; yet the above-mentioned interventions have directly impacted and have shown results in countering the current health and nutrition status among children. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a mid-day meal NGO, has been actively involved in implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in partnership with Central Government, various State Governments, and philanthropic donors. This Indian NGO has been in the service of nourishing children for the past 17 years. Currently, Akshaya Patra is providing nutritious meals to more than 17.5- lakh school children in 38 locations across 12 states of India. Over the years, tangible and sustainable change has been observed in the health and nutritional status of children. Click here to view the positive impact mid-day meals has had among children.
Akshaya Patra’s role in youth development
Nourished children will become healthy youths, educated children will become aware youths, and coached children will grow up to be responsible and empowered youths. Thus, Akshaya Patra while implementing the core mid-day meal programme is also engaged in other feeding and developmental activities to ensure children receive the right nutrition and the right training at the right age. This mid-day meal NGO is involved in providing nutritious food to Anganwadi centres along with coaching mid-day meal beneficiary children in various forms of arts, sports, science related spheres under its initiative ‘Giving Every Dream A Chance’.
Thus, by making available nutritious food, supporting education, and providing coaching for talent development, Akshaya Patra is creating a strong foundation for generations of healthy, conscientious, and responsible Indian youths.
In précis, the youth is directly responsible to sustain the independence of a nation. They are directly responsible for the future developments and progresses of a nation. Having said that, we must also realise and act to empower them in a way that they direct their energies and talents in the right direction and for the right purpose. But, for that, we need to begin nourishing, nurturing, and moulding them from their childhood. Akshaya Patra gives you a platform to get involved in supporting education of children by providing them with wholesome food. This Independence Day, join hands with Akshaya Patra to give the nation healthy, educated, and resourceful youths. #Pledgetofeed.