Are Mid-Day Meals Playing a Role in a Student’s Academics?

In the last five decades, literacy has evolved and shaped India in many facets – be it industrialisation, per capita or even the standard of living, literacy takes the credit. When you examine the literacy graph of India and compare numbers, the gradual developments bring a smile – thanks to the government benefits and donations for education in India. While there are many factors that play a role in achieving 100% literacy rate, a children’s NGO, Akshaya Patra, is focusing on enabling a student’s academic performance through food for education initiative – the Mid-Day Meal Programme.

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Implemented in 2000, Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meal Programme (food for education initiative) is now the world’s largest NGO-run feeding initiative based out of Bengaluru in Karnataka. Every day, over 1.6 million children are benefitted through this programme which prepares and delivers fresh-nutritious food to 13,260 schools at lunch time.

Here’s a quick look at two main factors that affect a student’s academic performance:

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Learning facilities and environment: It’s rather difficult to expect a child to learn in a classroom without sufficient study materials (text books, notepads, pen, and etcetera) and grasp lessons. It’s more problematic if the school is set up in a noisy surrounding and the exchange between teacher and students is put to a stop. While the government is making continuous efforts to provide provisions to children and build better infrastructure, many NGOs, with the help of education donations, have sprung to lend help to the government in ensuring children excel in their academics.

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Socio-economic status: In many scholarly articles and research studies, it has been proved over and again that the socio-economic status of a family is an integral criterion for student’s performance – this includes the family members’ occupation and revenue which defines the economic condition. Akshaya Patra enables many families by providing a resource to their children – mid-day meals – which in turn lessens the strain of feeding a stomach in the house. To ensure the child does not have to bear the responsibilities of earning, the Foundation through its programme encourages every child to attend school and also be assured to eat healthy meals.

Why are Mid-Day Meals a boon to children?

It is a resource that stabilises education.  But along with it come nutrition, good health and well-being, academic achievement and quality performance.  Akshaya Patra, with its dynamic initiative to provide food for education, has reached the milestone of serving more than 2 billion meals in the last 16 years. This milestone is a greater encouragement for the Foundation to continue its mission.

Yes, mid-day meals are a boon to children and for the nation. Here’s why:

– More children enrol in schools
– Promotes socialisation among children
– Reduces classroom hunger
– Enhances a student’s performance (academic, sports and cultural)

A quick thought for the mind: Post-independence, India faced many challenges in the field of Growth and Development. However, through numerous benefit schemes and opportunities, we as nation, are witnessing change in every field. Akshaya Patra’s initiative too intends change.

We believe every child deserves a fair chance and there is nothing more important than imparting education. Donate for education in India by joining Akshaya Patra in making every school a model of literacy development.

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Food and Education: A Solution for India

According to the famous theory ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ food is one of the most fundamental needs—if hunger is not solved, it becomes impossible for humans to reach higher standards of needs like education. This theory asks us a simple question: Will a child be able to sit in a classroom with an empty stomach?

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In an attempt to relieve children from classroom hunger, The Akshaya Patra Foundation began providing mid-day meals to government school children in India to ensure they receive both nutrition as well as education. The role of NGOs in India is increasing every day to reduce the nation’s socio-economic issues—lack of education being one of them. The Foundation believes that food for education will contribute to achieving economic stability in the long-run and will also improve every section of the society. 15 years ago, Akshaya Patra began serving mid-day meals to only 1500 school children. Today, it has progressed to more than 1.5 million children across 10 states in India making it the world’s largest (non-for-profit) run Mid-Day Meal Programme in India.

There are two ways many children in India are benefitting from Akshaya Patra’s mid-day meals—a wholesome meal every day to be on the healthier side and uninterrupted education despite the financial hurdles at home. Akshaya Patra has been working along with the Government of India and State Governments to reduce the number of children exposed to severe hunger. The combined and continuous efforts with the government have resulted in tremendous opportunities for children to attend school; for it is education that projects a secure future.

For India as a developing nation, feeding the future is a mission. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2008 states that more than 200 million people in India go hungry every day making food sufficiency an urgent priority. Despite economic progress over the decade, the report still highlights the severe hunger situation in India.

India has many challenges to fight. Solutions are many. However, if the country continues to focus on two aspects – food and education, the results can be what Planning Commission of India has envisioned for 2020—achieving 100 per cent school enrolment of all children.

It is also The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s mission to target 5 million children everyday by 2020 and ensuring that these children are able to concentrate better in classrooms. You can get involve by joining Akshaya Patra in raising awareness about the programme as well as contributing to the cause. All it takes is Rs. 750 to feed a school going child and you can help us too.


You can download the Akshaya Patra Mobile App to support the foundation cause. Download the app on Android and iOS store