Saturday, 22 November 2014

A hope for a new generation

A few days back, Aditi had tagged me to write a post on how we think we can eliminate classroom hunger so that no child would go hungry and an entire generation is educated. It was an initiative taken up by blogadda in association with Akshaya Patra, an organization promoting mid-day meals in schools. Unfortunately, the whole week was a turbulent one with office work threatening to eliminate my sanity instead. Yet, the thought of ‘food for education’, played intermittently in the back of my mind. Somewhere, a memory was tugging at my heartstrings. It would surface vaguely and go away even before I could take cognition of it.

Finally, it dawned upon me when I opened Akshaya Patra’s website a few minutes back. My eyes instinctively went to a young girl wearing mekhala chadar, the traditional dress of Assam. Her name was Krishna and she belonged to a remote village at Chandrapur block in Assam, a place which still does not have electricity connection fully. Krishna walked 10 km every day to her school, a feat she considered as ‘normal ordeal’ given the hardships they had to face in the village. The real issue for them was hunger. The mid-day meal helped children like Krishna sustain until they reached home in the evenings. They say they would not be hungry until late evening, when dinner was just an hour or two away.

As I finished reading Krishna’s story, a cog suddenly whirred and snapped into place. I remembered my own father walking 10 km every day as a child to his school, through rain and sun, through slush and heat alike. He was one of the few students that the school saw from his village. Most of them had dropped out, not because studies were tedious, but because they were from families of hard working farmers who could not afford to pack lavish lunches for their children.

50 years down the line, the situation has not changed much. Children still sit in village classrooms with hunger gnawing at their tummies. I would not wonder if education would matter much for hungry children then. And that is why I feel mid-day meal scheme would work in keeping these children in school. If food be the crux of staying in school, then so be it. In the process, they will get educated. They will learn how not to sway to superstitions, archaic rules and willful biddings of politicians. They will learn how to respect elders and women. They will create an intelligent society. 

And it all starts with staying in school. With food.

My only wish is that I would live to see that new era in India, when no child goes hungry and an entire generation is educated. I know my father would be delighted.





2 comments:

  1. Thank you Sangeeta for taking up the tag! Feels good to know that we as bloggers can make some difference in these kids lives! :)

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    1. True Aditi...whatever little we can, we should...

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