Today the 17th of October, we take a moment to analyse how poverty is affecting our children and how we can find ways to ensure that they are not affected.
World leaders in Millennium summit committed themselves to cutting by half by the year 2015 the number of people living in extreme poverty - people whose income is less than one dollar a day.
Akshaya Patra beneficiaries mid day meal scheme. Many leaders argue that even a dollar a day might also be not sufficient to alleviate poverty. In such a case many Indians live below poverty line whose entire family income is much lower than 1 dollar a day. And it becomes essential for everyone in the family to find a job, earn and fill their stomach at least once a day.
Hunger, malnourishment, under nourishment, etc are the many that hinders the life of such families. Hunger itself accounts for more deaths than any other disease in India. The children become the most vulnerable category. The numbers of child mortality in India is heart breaking. Many children have no option but to fight for food, by means of labour, and sometimes even by anti-social activities. Such is the state of millions of children in India.
The World Bank estimates that India is ranked 2nd in the world, of the number of children suffering from malnutrition. The prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world, and is nearly double to that of Sub-Saharan Africa with dire consequences for mobility, mortality, productivity and economic growth. The UN estimates that 2.1 million Indian children die before reaching the age of 5 every year – four every minute!! *
And all this is because of poverty. How do we solve such a massive problem? Who is responsible? Aren’t we all? There are many solutions and the problem needs to be tackled through various measures at the same time. And it is important that everyone steps in.
We at Akshaya Patra, believe that children have the right to food and right to education, which are both essential for tackling an issue like poverty. And hence this became our vision! “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.”
We serve mid day meals at government schools ensuring that children not only get one full meal that is nutritious everyday but also get an opportunity to attend school. We have been serving children for 12 years and we have seen that food does become an incentive to many children and they attend school. Where we serve, we have seen that there is increase in enrolment attendance and there is decline in drop-out rate. We continue to serve the children that the health and education leads to better employability of children in years to come and that they will achieve better standard of living.
Today we reach over 1.3 million children. By 2020 we hope to reach 5 million and then even more…
We need every support possible to attain our vision, join us! Indeed join a cause that brings resolve, that alleviates poverty, that gives life to many children, that gives better opportunities to all.