Thursday, 22 May 2014

Non-profit organisations bringing children to school

Achievement of 100% literate society is a challenge not only for non-profit organisations but also for the Government. The underlying reason being the socio-economic scenario of India which prefers children to earn a square meal than letting them to reach school. Government programmes such as Right to Education (RTE), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) and Mid-Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) are efforts to allow the grass root level section of the society to receive the fundamental right of education. For marginalised background, it becomes difficult to understand as to how every day’s schooling is better than every day’s earning. Hence, to create awareness and bring in more and more participation from the society at large, Government organisations in partnership with non-profit organisations implement different developmental schemes.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is one such non-profit organisation working towards bridging the gap between education and marginalised section through providing the goodness of food. The Akshaya Patra Foundation implements the Mid-Day Meal programme by being in partnership with Central Government and State Governments. The Foundation has well understood the relation between food and education and hence works towards reaching even the remotest location of a particular State. Also, in order to achieve the objectives of the Central Mid-Day Meal Scheme, it prepares the mid-day meals by keeping in mind the criteria of catering to the local taste and consumable by children of all communities. This allows the children to relish a wholesome meal along with their classmates thereby indirectly imbibing the qualities of socialisation and equality.

Here are two anecdotes that demonstrate the potential of education and mid-day meals. While in a visit to one of The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s beneficiary schools, we witnessed that a young girl of about 18 years is walking into the Principal’s office with a box of sweets. A curious enquiry revealed that she was an ex-student of this school and has come to thank the teachers and share the happy news of completing her Pre-University education and of being recruited by a bank for a clerical position.

In another instance, Raffath Unnisa, a senior teacher at one of the Akshaya Patra Foundation’s beneficiary schools narrates, "Years ago, I had a student who was highly interested in academics and performed well too. But, events of continuously missing school for many days led us to enquire about him and brought to light that as he was the only male child in the family, his grandmother preferred him to help his parents in the fields rather than going to school.” It did take time but this teacher was determined to bring the boy back to school. Rounds of meetings regarding importance of education convinced the parents to resend the boy for schooling. With pride Unnisa words, “Today the same little boy is all grown up and is pursuing his career in the Income Tax Department”.

These anecdotes are real life events that validate the potential of education and mid-day meal in transforming the society to better. It also brings to fore that Government, Non-profit organisations, teachers and society at large should come together to attain full potential of education and mid-day meal scheme.
Get in touch with The Akshaya Patra Foundation and know how you can be a part of this transformation.

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