It was a freezy morning. Having coped with the cold breeze in the air, I reached the mess at 8.45AM. I settled down in a chair with my usual set of friends for breakfast. As I was eagerly eating the steam filled idly and sambar in my plate, I was astonished to see a member of our set sitting idle without eating. His answer took me by surprise as he did not like idly for breakfast.
No wonder we hear so much about poverty and hunger, we still complain about the taste and quality of food available to us, rather than considering it a blessing for the food that has still been available to us. We cite all sorts of reasons in the world to skip a meal.
Have we ever thought about the millions of people in the world who do not have proper food even once during a day? An estimated 3.5million children below the age of five, die each year due to malnutrition.
Here is one side of the world, where people have enough money to take care of their personal needs, while on the other side there are people starving due to hunger. These people do not even have money to take care of their basic needs. A recent data suggests that the number of people living below $1.25per day in India has increased from 421million in 1981 to 456million in 2005.
In India, education is directly linked to hunger. Our country has a population of 70%in the rural areas which in itself shows great disparity. Most of these people are illiterate, as they do not attend school because their basic need of food isn’t satisfied. They are asked to work from their childhood as it is considered as an additional source of income to the family and they also get to eat the day’s meals. And this tradition still continues, with their children also involved in this kind of work.
In order to provide education to these children, the government introduced the mid-day meal scheme in schools. This led to the increase in children attending schools, as most of the families considered it a way to feed their children at least once during the day. This also solved the purpose of education, as these children also started learning.
One of the basic reason for the NGO’s to evolve, is to help these needy people. Their primary motto is to help people in need in terms of food, clothing and shelter.
Akshaya Patra is one such foundation, which has been founded to help those who are suffering from hunger. The name-Akshaya Patra is derived from Mahabharata, one of the great epics of India. Akshaya Patra was a vessel given to Yudhishtira by Surya and the vessel had the powers to produce inexhaustible supply of food each day. This foundation started with the vision that “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger”.
The first mid-day meal program was launched in Bangalore, where the foundation served 1500 children across 5 schools. With an increasing support base, this foundation is reaching out to 12 lakh children every day. Currently, they are working on a mission of reaching 50 lakh children by 2020.
With one of the most basic and important needs of humans being taken care of, there is a substantial increase in the number of children attending school.
Even with all these organizations working day in and out to reach the needy, there is still a big gap to be filled, as money has become a big hindrance to achieve the goal.
To be a part of this great cause, you can donate via:
To know more about Akshaya Patra, log on to: http://www.akshayapatra.org/