Crisp school uniforms, new compass boxes, polished shoes and packed school bags – it is time to welcome these sights again, as rain-soaked days herald the start of a brand new school year. After the lulls of the summer vacations, going back to school is a bittersweet experience indeed. No longer is it possible to sleep late into the morning or play and watch one’s favourite television programmes all day. It is now back to the old familiar – school friends, classes, homework and the discipline of following a schedule throughout the day.
The reopening of schools also brings with it the most delightful hour in the bustle of school life – the lunch break. This is the most anticipated time of the day, as growling stomachs need to be silenced with a healthy, wholesome meal. Good nutrition is imperative to the physical, mental and emotional development of children. After all, who, be it adult or child, can think straight with hunger clawing at their gut? Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO for children that provides mid-day meals to 1.4 million kids across India, ensures that not only do children go back to school, but they stay there too.
In a country like India where hunger and malnutrition cripples the educational performance of children and even leads them to desist from the pursuit of education, it is imperative that an incentive like free mid-day meals be implemented. Education is the magic spell that needs to be cast for empowering children and this can only be done if, like their privileged counterparts, the socioeconomically underprivileged too have a full stomach.
Don’t let food be a mere thought for a child.
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