Let's Eliminate Classroom Hunger: Feed A Child
And while India celebrates Children's day today, a lot many children that you or I can imagine would have woken up this morning or stayed during the day and will got bed- Hungry!
Do not get me wrong please. As a country, we do not lack natural resources. In fact we are superlatively rich and exploiting with nature. We do not lack enough funds to feed the children of this country, nor do we lack awareness about this monster of an issue. What we do lack, my dear friend- is the initiative, management and above all a combined will to work it out. It is not that nobody is working towards it. There are certain organizations such as Akshaya Patra, who are actively working on this as a project.
Hunger doesn't thrills but Kills
While you would have seen some leaders and people going on hunger strikes to drive certain objectives. Let me tell you, it is not easy, nor fancy alternative that God has blessed us with. As our age progresses, we may learn to suppress our hunger or our appetite may go low. However, endurance level for hunger is very low in infants and children who not just need enough food but enough "nutritive" food to help their growth and development, mentally, physically and psychologically.
A child is a father of man and could be a mother too.
Hunger does not just kill a person physically, it often leads people to commit cruel crimes or perpetrates untoward actions. "Children are future of India". And what kind of hungry future do we expect if we are not able to better the "present" of this "future". Do we really want our future to be a sad, gloomy face of hunger and deprivation? Or we want a healthy future? If you have said "Yes" for healthy future, then read on...
Start it early
Who is the most influencing person of a child's life during her/his growing years? Mother? Yes, Father? Yes. Grandparents, definitely yes. Teachers? Certainly yes. However, when a child start going to school and playing with friends, it is them who become the more influencing persons of his/her life. Indeed, given the time that a child spends at school while learning most about life and world, it is school and child' peer group at school that helps shape a more significant part of child' growth and development. Learning is not an easy task. Ask me. Every time I was asked to solve a math problem, I would be either very hungry or very sleepy. Since I could not afford to sleep during school hours, my family used to pack me extra boxes of lunch. The days when I don't use to bring a proper meal but some fancy foods like fry-yums and pastas, I would struggle to stay active and erode hunger. What I ate while being in school, did become a part of food habit and what I did not liked to eat, my friends in school made me to develop a taste for that. For eg- Lady finger that I always hated until I found it is my best friend's favorite food.
The point I am trying to drive is that school plays a very vital role in a child's development, but off course. It also helps shaping up in different habits of a human being, food being the case in point. To further strengthen my views, let me tell you about the poor Aadya, who stayed in shanty near our oil mill and who Aadya has to skip education cause her mother insisted- Agar school jayega to paise kaise kamayega? Khayega kya? [If Aadya will go to school, how will he earn livelihood by working at factory and how would he feed self?].
There are several children like Aadya who have to forego their education for child labor and lack of "food to eat" is one of the primary reason. As in some parents who could not afford daily meals for their children, resisted sending them to school as in recess the child would have nothing to eat whilst some fortunate few would come with their eloquent boxes to remind them more of their "depravity" and hunger.
|Source: AkshayPatra Foundation Facebook Page|
Eliminate Class room hunger
Wanna make more and more children to go to school and get educated? Want to prevent early malnutrition in country? Want to inculcate good eating habits in children? Want to be the contributing part of a child's [however unknown] health and nutrition? Want to foster healthy eating habits in children? If answer of any of the above questions is Yes, then come join, be part of brainwave - eliminating classroom hunger.
How do we eliminate classroom hunger?
By just talking about it to win next election?
By providing some food to school going children?
By providing nutritive food to children?
By placing pictures of all kinds of food in classroom?
By opening a "pay only" cafeteria in schools and throwing away all local food stalls?
By telling children to bring their food grains in beginning of the month to school?
By opening a farm in school playground?
May be we can eliminate it by making "right policies" and right fund "allocation". When we say allocation, we also mean that there should be a review mechanism to check- how the funds allocated are deployed? And whether are they reaching the right recipients or not?
While I can copy, paste and throw many statistics here, I would still request you to sit back and think- how will you eliminate classroom hunger?