Sound exploded around me as I walked through the ground of GHPS government school at Chikkasandra, Bangalore. Children scrambled around, laughing with excitement and glee as the mid-day meal was served, and vying to be photographed and interviewed for this blog post. It was impossible to not be charmed by their innocence and sheer joy for living.
Amidst the chaos I interviewed young Dinesh (left) from the second grade and Manu (right) from the first grade. Having just polished off their mid-day meal provided by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, they were raring to answer my questions.
Dinesh and Manu both come from low income families that work hard to make ends meet. Dinesh’s father works in the garments industry while his mother is a housewife. Dinesh and his sister both attend the GHPS government school and are beneficiaries of the Akshaya Patra mid-day meal programme. When I ask him about his ambition, he looks at me with shining eyes and answers without a moment’s hesitation saying, “I want to be an engineer.”
Manu’s father is a daily wage laborer while his mother is a tailor. He too has a sibling, an older brother in the second grade at the school, who is also a beneficiary of the mid-day meal programme. Manu, not to be outdone by Dinesh, tells me his ambition is to be a doctor.
Both these friends share similar taste in food it appears. Dinesh tells me he enjoys the food provided in the mid-day meal, and when asked what their favorite is, they reply in complete agreement – Puliogare. But is that what they love most about school? No, they say, they love to come to school because they want to study. Now doesn’t that make you proud of these young men?
The Akshaya Patra Foundation on LinkedIn