|Image courtesy: Google|
With just a day left for the Blog to Feed a Child campaign to end, I thought of writing one more post to do my tiny bit in eliminating classroom hunger. The number of young stomachs that go hungry in India is huge and classroom hunger is one of the reasons behind students dropping out of schools. Want of money for meals drives children away from school, to work as labourers, mechanics, cleaners and cooks.
If the RTE and all other campaigns towards ensuring better and equal opportunities in education for all children of India are to bear fruit, elimination of classroom hunger is a must. The government already has a mid-day meal programme running and several NGOs notably the Akshaya Patra foundation are doing a great job in this regard. But the number of mouths to be fed far exceeds the output of these community kitchens and there have been serious flaws in the execution of the mid-day meal programme of the government.
So it is time to share responsibility with the government and do our bit as voluntary groups, corporates, NGOs social workers or just as a citizen who cares. Here is a suggestion for what we can do as individuals at a more personal level than donating for the cause.
Sharing Your Tiffin
The basic idea is to encourage children to volunteer to carry extra tiffin box to share with a needy class/school mate. Share a tiffin programme can be of use especially in private schools which enrol students from underprivileged backgrounds through the RTE act. Very often being a minority in private schools, these children face ridicule and isolation by teachers and students that makes them drop out. Added to this the problems of poverty and hunger makes them flee from the intellectual demands of academics. Due to the small number of such children in these schools, there is hardly any NGO that supplies them food.
Nutritional and social inclusion of children can be made possible if sharing a tiffin box is encouraged. It involves other children of the school (along with their parents) volunteering to take up responsibility of sharing a meal (nutritional food) with one class mate from a less privileged background for a certain period of time. Given the diversity of eating habits, number of kids admitted through RTE and their needs, the programme can be implemented differently in different contexts. The whole idea is to bring together kids, socially and emotionally over a tiffin box.