Dull light brown uncombed hair covered in dust
Skinny bones and a pot belly
A faded frock and a head carrying the weight of heavy stones
Bare feet, running nose and a jaded smile
Conjures a familiar picture, no? We see many such children in India, working at construction sites, roadside dhabbas or tapris and, or selling toys at traffic signals. They work day and night, these children because of a lost childhood. Books, school, playing..these are distant things for them. Their goal is to work day and night with their families so as to feed themselves. They never learn and never get a chance to change their lives. They work and they work and grow up, they get their kids to work the same way they did and thus the vicious circle continues. What drives them to work and not study, what keep them away from school? Hunger! Hunger keeps them away from school, hunger drives them to work, when they should be learning and playing.
Here are some disturbing statistics about Hunger (Source: World Food Programme):-
- Hunger kills more people than AIDS, Malaria and TB
- 1 in 9 people on earth do not have enough food to lead a healthy life
- Asia is the continent with the most hungry people
- Nearly 45% of children under the age of 5 die due to poor nutrition every year
- 1 in 6 children in developing countries are underweight
The quest to diminish hunger and make children attend school is really tough. Akshay Patra has started a unique mid day meal programme to make sure that children get nutritious food and come to school. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a NGO headquartered in Bangalore, India. The organisation strives to fight issues like hunger and malnutrition in India. By implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in the Government schools and Government aided schools, Akshaya Patra aims to fight not only hunger but also to bring children to school.
Since 2000, the organisation has worked towards reaching more children with wholesome food on every single school day.
Akshaya Patra reaches out to 1,402,393 children in 23 locations across 10 states of India, providing them with freshly cooked meal on all school days. Currently, Akshay Patra runs the mid-day meal programme in 10,661 schools of the country, with plans to increase that number to hundreds more.
Some ways in which we can support this quest is:-
Contribute to Akshay Patra - The most logical thing right, they are doing it the right way and we can aid them. Here's how you can help - http://www.akshayapatra.org/onlinedonations
Regularly Donate to an Organization- You can donate to NGOs in your locality which deal with hunger and education of poor children. Take the initiative to meet the children on your own. Possibly reward them with comics to build an excitement in them towards reading and learning. If you have the time and inclination, teach them or hold a workshop for them on a topic that you specialize in.
Blog about this - Blogadda in association with Akshay Patra will feed a child for a year for one blogpost written by you. Yes, that's how simple it is! I think it is a wonderful initiative by Blogadda and every blogger should blog about this.
I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.