How Mid-day Meal Programme is Boon to India?
Posted: Jul 13, 2018
Food is a basic and vital requirement for the survival of any living being. In Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, food is one of the factors categorised under physiological needs, the deprivation of which does not allow the human body to function properly. This theory can be experienced in our daily lives too. For instance, if someday you miss out on your breakfast or an urgent meeting delays your lunch, consciously or unconsciously your entire focus remains on your empty stomach.
Well, this is something that millions of children across India face every day. The not-so-privileged socio-economic status of millions deprives them of something as basic as food. And, more often than not, the need for food pushes children to labour depriving them of education; creating a situation that denies children of their right to food and right to education.
Call it a ray of hope or a potential intervention, the Government of India introduced a provision wherein children attending government and government-aided schools will be provided with fresh and healthy school lunch – the Mid-Day Meal Scheme – the world’s largest school lunch programme. The advantages of Mid-Day Meal Scheme are:
- It addresses classroom hunger and malnutrition;
- It increases school enrolment and school attendance;
- It reduces drop-out rate;
- It enhances concentration levels among children; and
- It improves socialisation among children of different castes
NGO intervention to amplify mid-day meal benefits
Undoubtedly, food is an important aspect for proper growth and development among children. More so, nutritious diet is an essential prerequisite during the growth years of children.
The children in government schools mainly hail from low socio-economic backgrounds where even if they get a square meal it would mostly lack the necessary nutrients. For such children, mid-day meal acts as a medium to receive healthy food on a daily basis. In order to benefit children from grass root level, many NGOs have partnered with the government to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme; The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of them. Akshaya Patra is an NGO for children serving freshly cooked, nutritious, and tasty school lunch to children since 2000. Presently, the Foundation nourishes more than 1.7 million children studying in 14,173 schools in 36 locations of 12 states.
Mid-Day Meal Scheme – a Boon to India
Mid-day meals act as an incentive for parents to send their children to school with the hope that their children will get at least one proper meal a day. This has resulted in increased enrolment and also retention. Aside from being instrumental in bringing children to school, several studies suggest that the implementation of mid-day meals have potentially supported the education of students. Once children are at school, they attend classes and participate in school activities thereby positively impacting the literacy rate.
Reportedly, by 2020, India will embrace the title of being the world’s youngest nation. This means it will have a demographic dividend wherein nearly 64% of its total population will fall under the working age bracket. But, to truly enjoy this status, the country needs to equip its young generation with health and education. And, this is where the mid-day meal programme is a significant catalyst in ensuring generations of healthy, educated, and skilled citizens.
In conclusion, the efforts of government and NGOs will fructify only when it receives the support of the entire community. For the benefit of children and the nation, lend a hand by choosing to donate to NGO. Your donation will be the reason many children will get access to food and education. So, act up, support the ‘today’ of children and give them a brighter ‘tomorrow’.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is an Ngo in India providing food for 1.6 million school children across 12 States and 28 locations.