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Quality Meals For Education And Development

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By Author: The Akshaya Patra Foundation
Total Articles: 75
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The biggest problem that India faces today is hunger. Starvation and malnutrition have hit adults and children alike, especially those who come from neglected sections of society.

In India, 40% of the population constitutes children below 18 years of age (source: indiatimes.com). Out of that, about a quarter of them quit school to earn their food. Besides, the pandemic pushed millions of children further away from school.

Mid day meals motivate parents of such children to send them to schools to ensure they are fed at least once a day. And this in turn keeps the dreams of children from marginalized communities alive.

Role of nutrition in education

To effectively implement any school meal scheme, each portion served to every student must contain nutrients that enhances their learning ability and physical strength. Below are some of the requirements that each school meal must fulfill:

•Iron: improves dopamine transmission and cognition
•Vitamins and minerals: include thiamine, iodine, zinc, vitamin E and vitamin B that develop cognitive abilities and mental concentration ...
... in children
•Amino acid (proteins) and carbohydrates: enhance reasoning, intuition and perception

Meeting these necessities provide complete and long-term nourishment to children. Consistent intake of these supplements influences the intelligence levels of school children and helps them excel limitlessly.

The power of one meal a day

Understanding the importance of each nutritional element, government authorities of India mandated guidelines for the mid day meal (MDM)programme in India.
Order by the Supreme Court of India
•Every child must get a minimum of 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein per day
•Adequate nutrition must be provided on all school days for a minimum of 200 days
Mid Day Meal (MDM) Guidelines by the Ministry of Education (previously, Ministry of Human Resource Development)
•Every meal must contain carbohydrates, proteins and micronutrients such as iron, folic acid, Vitamin A etc.
•Primary school children must receive at least 450 calories with 12 grams of protein, while upper primary and secondary school children must receive 700 calories with 20 grams of protein

If NGOs in India follow these guidelines, our children will flourish with good physical and mental health. Their active participation in the field of science, business, sports, politics and more will bring laurels to the nation in years to come.

The power of one school meal a day has already transformed the lives of many mid-day meal beneficiaries in the past who aced their academics and successfully got placed in top companies in the profiles of their choice.
One of such beneficiaries is a boy who got hired by one of the leading multinational software companies. He dedicated this success to the food he had as a child. Daily hearty meals from Akshaya Patra helped him focus in classes and complete B.Tech in Computer Science with first-class distinction.

The speciality of Akshaya Patra’s meals

When it comes to feeding in government schools, serving meals on plates of the school children is insufficient. The authorities present must ensure that they eat everything without wastage.

It is because mid day meals from NGOs like Akshaya Patra come from a well-planed menu based on guidelines from the Ministry of Education and the Supreme Court of India. Hence, to ensure that every Akshaya Patra beneficiary gets every nutritional element, the meals are prepared according to the local palatal preferences of children.

This guarantees least to no food wastage, a balanced meal for children and that the children attend school every day (even if it was only to eat). Nevertheless, the outcome is holistic nourishment of both mind and body of children resulting in enthusiastic participation in scholastic and non-scholastic activities.

Your contribution

The divide between haves and have-nots has only expanded over the years. The pandemic has pushed the boundaries even further.

Therefore, collaboration, cooperation and contribution are crucial, now more than ever, to enhance the possibilities of a better future for the underprivileged sections and the nation. And this pivotal change can be brought with a modest contribution right from where we reside.

Almost every NGO is now available on the internet. Akshaya Patra is one such NGO in India that works to eliminate the gravest distress in the nation—HUNGER.

You can donate online on Akshaya Patra's website or start a fundraising campaign to raise funds by leveraging your social network. You can also donate vehicles or fund steel plates and tumblers for children.
Opportunities to contribute towards a massive change are endless and often incredibly simple.

Hence, it’s time we end the wait for children and feed them! Let’s join hands to create a future that is happier and brighter for all! Donate to feed the children today!

More About the Author

I'm a social volunteer, lives in Bengaluru. I do work for NGOs to make society better. Currently I'm working for The Akshaya Patra Foundation. It's an NGO in India which provides wholesome nutritious mid-day meals to government school children to end classroom hunger. https://www.akshayapatra.org/

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