Today’s Healthy Children, Tomorrow’s Thinking Youth

Hunger is not a problem, it is an obscenity. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”  Anne Frank

What better occasion than the International Youth Day to ensure that our youth of the future are well-fed and well-educated in the present. International Youth day should be the day of joining hands with a non-profit organisation such as Akshaya Patra to provide food for the hungry across various schools in India. You may become a contributor to a substantially effective plan to turn children into healthy youth and to a wealthy Nation. But why should you do it?

Children and youth will lead future economic development

Developing youth -- Akshaya Patra

According to census 2011, India has 65% of the population below 35 years of age while United Nations survey says 28% is in the age group of 10-24 years. The youth percentage in India is highest compared to any country. It is said that where the youth percentage is rising, the economies of the country will soar, provided the children are being given good facilities for education, food and health. Only then it would lead to the economic growth and development of an individual as well as the country.  The donation you make to feed the hungry directly contributes to the social development in children as well the economic development of the country.

Literacy is an incentive

The mid-day meal programme enables you to hit three targets with one arrow. Where a family is not able to feed children, the mid-day meal programme brings them healthy food along with creating opportunity for learning. Akshaya Patra wisely incorporates education and development in the children while feeding them. Many individuals, organisations and companies have developed a sense of ethics and social responsibility while volunteering with or donating to Akshaya Patra.

Today’s healthy children are tomorrow’s wise youth

There are many ways you can participate in a country’s social, cultural and economic development. When you contribute in the mid-day meal programme run by Akshaya Patra, you are contributing towards not only social or economic development but cultural growth as well. Your small act of kindness affects these children and propagates a kind and generous culture. This programme also opens roads to numerous youth development programmes.

Investment in your future

While contributing to Akshaya Patra, you also get to know where exactly your money is spent. We comply by International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and Transparency Indian Accounting Standards issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and publish our annual report with financial audits. You also get tax exemptions and many CSR opportunities such as cause-marketing initiatives, strategy philanthropy through funds and in-kind contributions or events and sponsorships.

On this International Youth Day, donate to charity to transform children into healthy youth and safeguard our country’s fate, our future.

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World Health Day: Children Health and Mid-day Meals

world health day

The World Health Organisation (WHO)—a UN agency concerned with public health at the international level—was founded on 7th April, 1948. In order to commemorate its founding, it was decided to observe 7th April as the World Health Day. While the WHO uses the day to spread awareness about some health issue of major importance, the same is also used by various organisations working in the field of public health to draw people’s attention to issues of concern and put forth some solutions. In India, hunger and malnutrition are two such issues, and the Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDMS) is one of the solutions.

On 28th November, 2001, the Supreme Court of India directed the State Governments “to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by providing every child in every Government and Government-aided primary school with a prepared mid-day meal with a minimum content of 300 calories and 8-12 g of protein each day of school for a minimum of 200 days.” The stipulated nutritional content has since been raised to 450 calories and 12 g protein for children in primary schools and 700 calories and 20 g protein for children in upper-primary schools.

Mid-day Meal and Children’s Health

In a country where malnutrition is rampant, 450 calories a day come as a blessing in disguise; all the more so because at times this is the lone meal many of these children afford. If malnutrition levels in India have dropped from 42.5% in 2005-06 to 30% in 2013-14, it’s partly because of feeding initiatives like the MDMS and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

Mid-day meal guidelines also state that the meals served should supply micronutrients like iron, zinc, folic acid, vitamin A, etc., to the beneficiaries, thus making it a wholesome meal necessary for proper growth. It’s important to provide nutrient-rich healthy food to children, as the lack of these nutrients can result in problems like stunting (low height-for-age) and wasting (low weight-for-age).

The meals are prepared after taking specific guidelines into consideration to make sure that children get necessary nutrients. In some states, a list of recipes is provided and the schools are expected to pick one every day, whilst being careful not to repeat it that week. In some states, the vegetables used to prepare meals are repeated on a daily basis.

School teachers are testimony to the change the MDM programme has brought about, especially in the context of children’s health. Earlier, many children used to reach school on an empty stomach; at times, even having missed their previous night’s dinner. As a result, it was difficult for them to concentrate on what they were being taught in school. Since the implementation of MDMS, students are faring better in academics as their concentration has improved.

Lack of a nutritious meal on a daily basis made children weak and thus, prone to missing school. The improvement in nutrition levels of children because of MDMS has translated into reduced absenteeism and dropout rates. With examples like these, it’s but obvious that the mid-day meal is of utmost importance for these people.

Good Hygiene – Sound Health

mid day meal

Mid-day meals are not just directly contributing to the health and nutrition of children, but also helping indirectly by inculcating good habits in them. According to the new MDM guidelines, it’s mandatory for all schools serving mid-day meals to allocate hand washing time as a part of the school timetable in order to ensure that children wash their hands with soap both, before and after their meal. Hand washing is a hygienic practice which helps keep several diseases at bay. Studies reveal that washing hands with soap reduces the likelihood of diarrhoea by a whopping 48 percent.

The best part is that the MDMS is having a positive impact on both, health and education sectors. In the education sector, it acts as a perfect incentive to bring children to school. In fact, there are cases where school-going children are accompanied by their younger siblings for that one nutritious meal. It’s worth noting that the Public-private Partnership with Non-Governmental Organisations, like the Akshaya Patra Foundation, is helping the State Governments to feed hungry children across the country.

At the end of the day, it’s safe to say that it’s because of the MDMS that children, who would have otherwise been working to support their family, can now have a nutritious meal … and dare to pursue their dreams. So why not use this World Health Day to further the cause and help the concerned agencies to reach more children.

Read on the eve of World Health Day, how Akshaya Patra is addressing malnutrition at: blog.akshayapatra.org/world-health-day


 

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Akshaya Patra Feeds to End Child Hunger

The Akshaya Patra Foundation which was established in the year 2000 has had an amazing, enriching journey over the past 15 years. Started with just feeding 1,500 children across 5 schools in Bengaluru, Akshaya Patra today feeds over 1.4 million children across 24 locations and 10 states of India. The organisation was conceptualized with the idea that children should not have to choose between education and nutrition. The Foundation’s vision is that ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger’ and the mission is to feed 5 million children by 2020. Through its Mid-Day Meal Programme, the organisation works to end classroom hunger in India, and feed and educate underserved children.

Feed the hungry children

In many cases, children do not have the opportunity to attend school since they are forced to help their parents earn enough money for a single meal every day. With the mid-day meals provided by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, children have an incentive to attend school and get educated at the same time. Parents too are more eager to allow their children to attend school as Akshaya Patra assures their child with a daily, nutritious meal and eases the burden on parents to provide for their young ones.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation with the support of all its well-wishers aims to eliminate classroom hunger in India, and give children the opportunity to achieve their goals. For any organization, people support is important. To support this Foundation, make an online donation and help us to feed more children.