India is one of the largest countries in the world with a constantly growing population.
India’s child population (aged 0-14 years) is 26.6% of the total population of the country.
Acknowledging the fact that children are the building blocks of a nation, the Central Government of India initiated various schemes to ensure that they get the right nutrition (right from their birth) and the required education for their development. Some of these schemes are Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDM).
Nutritional requirements of children at various stages of life
Nutritional needs vary from one stage of life to another. essential amino acids, fatty acids, carbohydrates and various other vitamins and minerals help in life sustenance and health in different proportions. For example, macro and micronutrients intake in childhood is recommended to be higher when compared to adulthood.
Many NGOs in India have worked in tandem with the Government of India to ensure that nutritional deficiencies are tackled right at the base level – infancy and childhood.
Did you know?
Mid-Day Meal Scheme was started by the Central Government in 1995 to feed the children. However, only a few states could scale up the programme immediately.
The Mid-Day Meal Scheme was started in 1995 by the Central Government of India to provide free school meals to children studying in Government and Government-aided primary schools in classes I-V. After the Supreme Court’s order in 2000, many states covered this programme with the help of NGOs. One such implementing partner that operates on a public-private partnership (PPP) is The Akshaya Patra Foundation. The NGO that fed 1500 children in Karnataka’s Bengaluru in 2000, grew multifold with the support from the Government of India, the State Governments and associated organisations.
With its constant effort to provide unlimited food for education to children studying in Government and Government-aided schools, it aims to mitigate classroom hunger. With the vision “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger,” the organization is on a mission to serve mid-day meals to 5 million children by 2025, every day.
Akshaya Patra takes care of nutritional needs of children even today
The main objective of the Mid-Day Meal Programme was to improve the nutritional status of children. There was a need to encourage people from economically challenging backgrounds to send their children to school and free meals were one major reason why they attended schools regularly, concentrated in classrooms and participated in activities thereby increasing enrolment, retention and attendance rates.
After almost 18 months of school closure, children are back to schools and Akshaya Patra is back to serving them nutritious food. Locally palatable meals are served to school children to ensure that no food is wasted due to changes in the local flavour of food. By providing free unlimited food for children, Akshaya Patra aims to tackle two important issues – hunger and education.
Support to feed the children of India by making online donations to Akshaya Patra. How developed they are and they can be lies upon us. Let’s feed them together because they are the ones who will make our nation a better one every single day by walking on the path of progression.