International Children’s Day— a day dedicated to torchbearers of the world

International Childrens Day 2014

How did we spend most of our time in our childhood? We played, we sang, we explored, learned new things, asked questions… But above all this, there was one thing we did as children— go to school. School was a place that we developed a kind of special bond with. We loved it for all the fun things we did there while also dreading exam time! But we loved every single day of school because that was the place where we made lots of friends and learned a sport or two, recited interesting poems, pulled pranks on friends and so on. Every day was a new beginning. A majority of us would agree when asked if, given a chance, we would like to go back to school now. We were gifted with knowledge and spirit in the form of school days while growing up. But the story is a world apart in the life of many children across the globe.

International Childrens Day 2014Approximately 72 million children in the world do not get the chance to go to school. Ever. Owing to various factors like inadequate financial conditions, unemployment, lack of education and illness of parents, children are preferred to work during the day. In India alone, about 50 per cent of children in the age group of 6 to 18 do not go to school. Moreover, more than 50 per cent of the children in our country are under-nourished, while our total child population is over 400 million! According to the 2011 Census, 74.04 per cent of the adult population here is literate. This means 25.96 per cent of our population can still not read and write which makes India a country with the largest illiterate population in the world!

The 2013 Global Hunger Index (GHI) of India reads 21.3 on a scale of 100, which is considered ‘Alarming’ by the International Food Policy Research Institute. Though this is an improvement since the GHI recorded in the year 1990, a substantial number of our children still go to bed on an empty stomach.

These are the exact reasons why we need to dedicate a day to the children in our world. International Children’s Day is observed on 01 June every year, since 1925. In order to curb these alarming rates of malnourishment and illiteracy in the world, we need to start with our own country. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, with support from the Government and philanthropists, is currently feeding mid-day meals to over 1.39 school-going children in India since the year, 2000.

As this is a huge number, every single donation made towards us counts. The more the support, the higher will be the possibility of curbing the alarming rates of hunger and illiteracy in our country. Thus, this International Children’s Day, let’s attempt to make a difference in a child’s life…because while we continue to live our lives, somehow in some part of the world, a dream is withering away in silence.

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