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Access To Education - Every Child’s Right
Every child is born with fundamental rights and access to education is one of them, regardless of socioeconomic status, gender, ethnicity or religion. It is a right that is recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Constitution of India.
The power of education
Education is a powerful tool that can
• break the cycle of inadequacy
• reduce inequality
• promote social and economic development
• provide children with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life
• equip them with the ability to read, write and communicate effectively
• help them develop critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills and creativity
• foster social and emotional development in them
• help them develop empathy, resilience and a sense of belonging
• teach them to be inclusive and allow equal growth opportunities for everyone in society later in life
Unfortunately, many children around the world are denied access to education. According to UNESCO, an estimated 244 million children ...
... and youth are out of school.
Economic insufficiency is one of the main barriers to education, with many families unable to afford the costs of schooling, such as uniforms, books and transportation. Discrimination and cultural beliefs also play a significant role in denying education to certain groups of children, such as girls and children with disabilities.
The consequences of denying children access to education are severe. Without education, children are more likely to remain economically challenged throughout their lives, have limited opportunities, and be at risk of exploitation and abuse. They are also less likely to have good health and well-being, as education is linked to better health outcomes and lower mortality rates.
Therefore, every child must have access to quality education. Governments and policymakers must prioritise and invest in it as a fundamental right. They must work to eliminate the barriers, such as financial hurdles, discrimination and cultural beliefs, that prevent children from accessing education.
These initiatives may include providing free or affordable education, ensuring schools are safe and inclusive, and addressing the social and cultural barriers preventing certain groups of children from accessing education.
The intervention of NGOs
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society groups also have a critical role in promoting access to education. Many top NGOs in India today are working with governments and communities to raise awareness about the importance of education and advocate for policies that support education for all. They are also providing financial and material support to children who face barriers to accessing education.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one of such top NGOs in India that has been implementing the world’s largest NGO-run school lunch programme for over two decades. It has been working with the Government of India to provide freshly cooked and nutritious mid-day meals to over 20,10,516 (2 million) children in 22,367 schools under the government scheme of PM Poshan Abhiyaan (earlier called the Mid-Day Meal Scheme).
The NGOs primary objective is to facilitate access to education for every child, as it is a fundamental right. It believes that a well-fed child is more likely to attend school and concentrate better, thus improving their performance in academic and non-academic activities such as sports and the arts.
The meals Akshaya Patra serves in government and government-aided schools across 15 states and two union territories of India include a balanced diet of rice, lentils, vegetables and fruits, which provide essential nutrients for healthy growth and development of children. The meals also adhere to local tastes to avoid food wastage. By doing so, the NGO aims to combat malnutrition, a problem that is prevalent in many parts of India.
In addition to providing mid-day meals, Akshaya Patra also engages in several other initiatives to ensure quality education for children.
• It runs the AVSAR scholarship program to support the higher education of children and reduce school dropouts due to financial constraints.
• It has partnered with an ed-tech company to implement the Digital Education Programme to enhance the quality of education for government school children. The programme aims to supplement the traditional mode of education with digital aids such as android tablets with internet connectivity to make teaching and learning a more effective and memorable experience.
Over the years, Akshaya Patra's efforts have effectively facilitated children's access to education, particularly for those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Through mid-day meals and other initiatives, the organisation has helped improve the attendance and academic performance of children in schools, ultimately contributing to a brighter future for them and India as a whole.
Feed the children & avail 80G deductions
Education can transform the lives of children and communities, and create a more equitable and just society. Access to education is every child's right, and NGOs today are collaborating with governments, policymakers, and civil society groups to ensure that this right is sustained.
Now, you can also contribute to ensuring children receive quality nourishment and education through the websites of these NGOs. When you invest in their initiatives with a few clicks, you help transform the future of the children and, in turn, the future of the world.
Moreover, when you feed the children with Akshaya Patra, not only do you bring happiness into their lives with nourishing school meals, but also benefit yourself with 80G deductions of 50% on the taxes you pay.
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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