How Food and Education are Co-related?

Personally, I cannot concentrate even for five minutes when I am hungry. And, even if I push myself, I will end up doing a half-baked job that will require me to ultimately rework on the same thing. Least had I realised, until recently, that each day millions of children undergo incessant hunger pangs while trying to concentrate in classrooms. It made me to think ‘can right to education be achieved if we do not take care of the basic necessity called food?’

Food and education

Many research studies have indicated that food and education are inter-related factors. While it is true that without food children cannot concentrate well in classrooms and school activities, it is also a matter of concern that with food and no education, children will turn out to be dependent citizens of the country. Thus, it is important for food and education to go hand in hand. But, one should also be mindful of the fact that food here is indicative of nutrition-rich diet. Only a balanced nutritious meal will support proper physical and cognitive development in children. Only such a meal will maintain the nutrition equilibrium in the body that is vital for children to be active and focus on learning. This is being well-understood by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, an NGO in India that has been providing wholesome school meals for the past 17 years. With their school lunch programme, they aim to provide ‘unlimited food for education’ and achieve the vision of ‘No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.’

In order to address the need of providing nutritious food to school-going children and to garner support from all sections of the society, Akshaya Patra recently began ‘Feed the Future Now’ campaign. This campaign is an attempt to spread awareness regarding the criticality of hunger and hidden hunger in the development of children. It intends to advocate the right to food while providing a platform for each and every one of us to contribute towards what we all believe ‘children are the future of a society’. And, it is heartening to see that corporate giants such as GlaxoSmithKline, PepsiCo, Nestle, Reliance Fresh, Viacom18, Facebook, Big FM PVR Cinemas and The Lalit Group of Hotels, along with renowned individuals namely Shankar Mahadevan, Vivek Oberoi, Sanjeev Kapoor, and Sonali Bendre have joined hands with the NGO in this initiative. Expressing her view, Ms. Deepa Menon, Senior Vice-President (Corporate Communications & CSR), PVR Ltd. said, “Nutrition and development are interlinked. Therefore, being a socially sensitive organisation, PVR is supporting ‘Feed the Future Now’ initiative through the use of its physical infrastructure. The initiative is also in sync with the ethos of PVR Nest which concentrates its efforts towards mainstreaming underprivileged children and restoring confidence among them by investing on education, health and nutrition, skill development, and employability through our ‘Childscapes’ programme.”

In my opinion, Akshaya Patra has opened the door to a path, on which when we walk, we can ensure Right to Food and Right to Education of millions of our young citizens. And, as we know that the nation is fast progressing towards the day when it will be a home to the youngest and largest working-age population in the world, the least we can do is participate and contribute in the endeavour of this Foundation.  Let us donate for children and give them the benefit of nutritious meals and rightful education.

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How ‘Feed the Future Now’ initiative tackle hidden hunger?

Until recently I wasn’t aware of what is termed as ‘hidden hunger’. I was introduced to this phenomenon while reading an article where Vivek Oberoi was quoted saying, “We, as a country has had so many achievements at the global platform but hidden hunger still remains an obstacle to sustaining education and achieving one’s full potential. ‘Feed the Future Now’ aims to combat this issue and I am glad to pledge support to its mission of nourishing the future of India so that kids get a holistic upbringing, just like we all did.” This led me to delve a little to know more about hidden hunger and its related campaign.

Hidden hunger

Tackle hidden hunger

Hidden hunger refers to a form of deficiency that is caused by consuming food that may be filling the stomach but lack in essential vitamins, minerals, and other micro-nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development. Often times people from socio-economically challenged backgrounds are dependent on and consume food such as rice, corn, or wheat flour on a daily basis. This food may satisfy their hunger but do not provide the essential nutrients that are found in fruits, vegetables, pulses, and dairy and farm products. Eventually, this deficiency leads to the phenomenon called hidden hunger. Hidden hunger may result in ill health, impaired physical and cognitive development, and early deaths.

Ways to tackle hidden hunger

Provision of a nutritious diet is certainly the only way to tackle this situation. And, for this, there has to be a concerted effort from each and every one from the public, private, and civil society.

  • Since the effect of hidden hunger is passed on from the mother to the child during the prenatal stage, early intervention becomes imperative. So, nourishment of the mother throughout maternity and beyond is vital.
  • The first 1000 days i.e. conception to the two-year post-natal period, are considered crucial for a child’s development. By providing adequate nourishment during these days, we can break the under-nutrition – disease – mortality cycle.
  • Schemes such as ICDS and Mid-Day Meal are food-based interventions aimed to provide nutrition-rich meals at Anganwadi centres and schools. By increasing reachability, the potential of these schemes can be harnessed to counter under-nutrition.
  • Awareness drives about the importance of nutrition and its impact on health is a necessary step. Aggressive awareness campaigns regarding hidden hunger will have to be conducted for people to understand that eating is not enough, eating nutritious food will make a difference.

‘Feed the Future Now’ aims at countering hidden hunger

Feed the Future Now’ is an initiative of The Akshaya Patra Foundation to nourish and nurture children with wholesome meals and rightful education. Akshaya Patra is leveraging its Mid-Day Meal Programme to enrich children with nutritious school lunch. As has been mentioned earlier, a concerted effort is required to combat hidden hunger, through the ‘Feed the Future Now’ initiative Akshaya Patra is aiming to garner support and participation of people from all walks of life.

The initiative aims to provide 5-billion nutritious meals to school children by 2020. Since hidden hunger negatively impacts overall development of children hampering motor development and cognitive function resulting in poor school performance, this initiative will look forward to building an effective and collaborative multi-stakeholder campaign so as to ensure an increase in pro-nutrition investments. It will create awareness on the problem of hidden hunger so that more and more people are educated about its impact and that they understand its influence on the nation’s progress.

Corporate giants such as GlaxoSmithKline, PepsiCo, Nestle, Reliance Fresh, Viacom18, Facebook, Big FM PVR Cinemas and The Lalit Group of Hotels, along with renowned individuals namely Shankar Mahadevan, Vivek Oberoi, Sanjeev Kapoor, and Sonali Bendre have joined hands with Akshaya Patra in this initiative.

Conclusion

Hidden hunger is a matter of utmost concern. More so, when the nation is preparing to embrace the reputation of being home to the youngest and largest working-age populations in the world. At such a watershed moment, all we can do is come together in support of providing nutritious meals to the children of India who will soon shoulder the responsibilities of the nation. Donate for children and feed the future. Let us together conquer hunger by targeting hidden hunger.

The connection between care for children and development of society

Feed the future now

The progress of a society can be gauged by the way it takes care of its children. Simply because children will grow up to be the caretakers of the society in the near future. Heeding to this, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a mid-day meal NGO in India, initiated a campaign called ‘Feed The Future Now’ – a social movement based on the principle that ‘every child deserves a nutritious diet, a fulfilling education, and a bright future’. The Foundation is taking forward this campaign with steadfast support from GlaxoSmithKline, PepsiCo, Nestle, Reliance Fresh, Viacom18, Facebook, Big FM PVR Cinemas and The Lalit Group of Hotels. Each of the partner corporates has pledged their support in unison to build a better future for children.

The ‘Feed The Future Now’ campaign aims to garner mass support by creating a common platform where any and every one can participate from the public sector, private sector, media and the civil society. The campaign intends to bring about a sustainable change by spreading awareness, promoting policy advocacy, and actively acting upon fulfilling the need of nutrition and education of children.

The significance of caring for the present generation

They say, ‘future is dependent in the way we deal with our present’. So, the way we treat our children today will decide the future of our society and the nation, thus making, caring for the present generation a matter of utmost importance.

Health and education

Break the poverty-hunger-illiteracy cycle – This vicious cycle that has been a constant barrier to the progress of our society can be dealt only when we can create a pool of a healthy and educated generation. For instance, if we have one million children in our country and we provide nutrition and education to all of them, we will create a future generation of healthy and educated citizens. This generation will result in another abled generation and the chain will continue. Eventually, we will be able to create a new reality – the ‘economic independence-food-literacy’ cycle.

Assets for the society – It is a simple phenomenon. As a child if I hadn’t received healthy food and education, then I would have turned out to be a dependent individual. But, since I had received care and schooling, today I am independent and am able to take care of my family. Now imagine the same by holding 3-million children in mind. What would you like them to become – assets or liabilities?

Future decision-makers – Two decades away and India will be home to one of the youngest and largest working-age populations in the world. And, it is self-explanatory that only a healthy and educated generation can potentially take responsibility of their families and the society on their shoulders. So, it becomes imperative that we provide nutritious food and schooling to our children.

Storehouse of creativity and innovation – The minds of children are a wonderland of new ideas and creativity. Their thoughts, approach, and understanding of the world have a sense of newness. And, if their talents and skills are tapped in the right way, the world will be a much wonderful place to live. But, this is possible when children are nourished with food and education, and when they are given the avenue to explore their hidden talents.

In conclusion, the growth and development of the current young population rest upon us. The Akshaya Patra Foundation is providing us a platform to influence the present and create a desirable future. So, as a way forward, let’s take full advantage of this opportunity and feed the children.

Hunger and Development go hand in hand

As the Akshaya Patra Foundation marches forward in its endeavour to serve 5 billion meals by 2020, it has been able to ensure that over 1.6 million children across 12 states in the country are able to enjoy their right to education because they don’t need to worry about their mid-day meal, courtesy the Foundation’s endeavour.

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Feeding the Future

The Foundation, along with its coalition of partners – GlaxoSmithKline, PepsiCo, Nestle, Reliance Fresh, Viacom18, Facebook, Big FM PVR Cinemas and The Lalit Group of Hotels, have been working together to building a better future for children.

It’s a movement that is hoping to gather greater support from the public and private sectors, and the civil society so that it becomes a common mission for the Government, corporates, development sector partners and individuals. Thus, Feed The Future Now aims at creating a sustained momentum for a nourished India by feeding the children.

Country’s future is safe

When the future generations get good, healthy and balanced food from a young age itself, they will not only grow up to be physically healthy, but also mentally healthy. A nourished India will be a healthy India.

It is especially important now because we are at the cusp of being one of the most powerful countries in the world. For the country to keep growing stronger, we have to ensure hunger doesn’t come in the way of a good education which is necessary for ensuring the country has physically and mentally healthy generations in the future who will be able to build on the current achievements.

Hunger, not a hurdle to good education

A survey done in 2016 by the government had found that the dropout rate in Karnataka’s government schools had come down drastically as not many are leaving due to effective retention strategies. From 2001 when there were over 7 lakh out-of-school children, by 2016 it had come down to 90,000 out-of-school children, according to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) officials.

This is perhaps a perfect opportunity to feed the future which can be done on https://www.feedthefuturenow.org/donate.

A Nourished India, An Educated India

Feed the future

The movement of Feed The Future Now, that was launched across the country with the support of nine leading corporates in the country and the Government of India, has been taking baby steps towards its aim — to serve 5 billion meals to children across India by 2020.

The movement, launched on May 27 has its chief theme as ‘Poshit Bharat, Shikshit Bharat‘. It means that a nourished India will be an educated one. How can a child that is undernourished stay focused on his/her studies? For the child to grow into an intelligent person, he/she will require nutrients that are important for the neuronal cell (nerve cells that also make up the brain cells) growth and development are supplied in the necessary quantities,

All nutrients are important for the neuronal cell growth and development; but some have greater impact during the late fetal and neonatal time periods. These include protein, iron, zinc, selenium, iodine, folate, vitamin A, choline, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. All these play an important role in a child’s development. Hidden hunger, characterised by the lack of sufficient supply of nutrients, is quite prevalent across the country.

This problem is class agnostic. Even the well-off are prone to this issue as a result of not eating many of the foods that supply these micro-nutrients.

As of now, this is a movement that has just taken birth. With its basis of three pillars – awareness, nutrition and education, the campaign seeks to create a rallying call-to-action and promote policy advocacy as well as a behavioural change with regards to the twin issues of nutrition and education.

While the movement has big corporates at the forefront, an individual need not feel left out. Even as corporates contribute, you too can feed a child.

Know about 6 vegetables that has high nutritional value

 

Nutritious food

Food is important for healthy growth of mind and body. This helps in stopping hunger now. Elders have always been particular about their children eating vegetables. But, children prefer to avoid them, as much as they can. But, no matter what, children need a balanced diet to be healthy.

Potato, tomato, beans, pumpkin, bottle gourd, carrot, beetroot, etc., should be eaten regularly for a healthy life. Or, you end up with ailments that can affect your mental and physical well-being.

By using the different seasonal mixed vegetables like spinach, beans and such others during their respective seasons The Akshaya Patra Foundation ensures that children get a balanced diet all-year-round.

Spinach: Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain antioxidants that combat free radicals. These are absolutely necessary for one to remain healthy and help avoid ailments and physical issues in future. Like spinach, tomatoes too contain antioxidants that fight free radicals.

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Free radicals damage contributes to the development of many chronic health problems such as cardiovascular and inflammatory disease, cataract, and cancer. Antioxidants prevent free radical induced tissue damage by preventing the formation of radicals.

Beans: Beans are a great source of nutrition. They contain lysine, an essential amino acid which helps the body convert fatty acids into energy and helps to lower cholesterol. They also contain folate, a B vitamin which affects neurotransmitters that can boost your mood. It is among the important vegetable which ensures you stop Hidden Hunger.

BEAN

Brinjal: Brinjal is rich in minerals such as potassium which is good for metabolism, and magnesium which helps to relax your muscles and can aid in improving your sleep. If you lack vitamin B and K this is a good vegetable. The skin has extra nasunin, a nutrient and antioxidant which has anti-ageing properties.

Brinjal-PNG-Image

Pumpkin: Pumpkins contain essential nutrients such as folic acid, manganese, vitamin C and zinc, all known to help in strengthening the body’s natural immune system.

Pumpkin

Brussel Sprouts (mini cabbage): Not only are sprouts rich in vitamin C and K, which help to maintain healthy bones, they also contain carotenoids, essential for supporting good vision. Sprouts are a great source of vitamin C and also contain very low sodium and fat content, making them a great vegetable for supporting heart’s health.

Group of Brussel Sprouts isolated on white background

These and more are used by Akshaya Patra to Feed the Children Now. You can participate in this initiative by donating towards the Foundation and eradicating classroom hunger.

Seasonal Nutritious Dishes Keep Children Healthy

fruits-and-veg

Nutritious and healthy food is the birthright of every child. But, not all children get to have it every day. There can be varied reasons for the same.

The school lunch provided by The Akshaya Patra Foundation to over 1.6 million schoolchildren every day ensures that the children get nutritious and healthy food containing seasonal dishes as a part of their school lunch. It also ensures they get a balanced diet and are saved from hidden hunger.

The Foundation ensures that children get fresh and different variety of dishes in their meals. It has been observed that children like different kinds of dishes in their meals every day. This, in a way, ensures that the food wastage is less. While feeding the seasonally available food, the Foundation ensures that the children get the kind of food cooked in their region. For this, every Akshaya Patra kitchen has different menu. This is necessary to feed the children nutritious meals every day.

As seasons change, the types of vegetables and fruits available differ. Hence, it won’t be possible to give children the same food and vegetables throughout the year. There are different types of pulses and varieties of beans that grow only during certain seasons. Hence, when they are available. The children from the region where these season fruits and vegetables are harvested can relish dishes made from these ingredients.

India is blessed with numerous climatic zones and climatic conditions. Therefore, the fruits and vegetables grown across the country vary. This also affects the nutritional properties of all them. Keeping this in mind, the ingredients in the menu are changed. Sometimes, new dishes are introduced in the menu to make it suitable for the season. With this Akshaya Patra has been able to stop hunger now. Donations from the organisations and philanthropists form an important part of our initiative to bring a change.

Educated Children will Build a Well-Developed India

Children are called the key of paradise. It is important to ensure that they are well-educated and healthy. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a non-profit-organisation, which is in the forefront in ensuring the welfare of children as it aims to feed the future now.

It is important to educate them and ensure that they become a responsible citizen of the country. Children are the future of the country. Their actions will determine the future of the nation. To ensure that they receive proper nutrition and education, the Government of India has come up with numerous initiatives. Mid-Day Meal Scheme being one of them.

child empowerment

It is important that every citizen of the country understands the importance of doing their bit to ensure that children are consuming nutritious food. This is important for proper development of their mind and body.

Children should be free of fear, hunger, preventable diseases etc., to ensure they lead a happy life. The situations in some parts of the world makes it unsuitable for children to live. Take the case of man-made preventable wars and conflicts as in Syria today that has seen children being the worst affected due to the conflicts and have been left to the forces of many a deviant ideology.

In the month of November, when we also celebrate Children’s Day is a time for all adults to affirm that children would never have to suffer for the follies of some adults. Nor will they be allowed to suffer from hunger. This is where Akshaya Patra plays a major role. It ensures that children of school-going age need not miss school for want of food.

It is such efforts that ensures child empowerment in India. The act of empowering children helps guide them to feel and believe that they are powerful now as well as creating optimum conditions for them to live happily.

Support the cause. Donate today.

Feed a Child to Feed The Future Now

For developing an individual, no matter what, starting young is the best way to do it. The Akshaya Patra Foundation believes in supporting the child’s development from a very young age.

Feed the future

In the process of developing as a well-rounded individual, it will do a world of good, if a child is taught the need and the importance of social service. Of course, it will ensure the person develops humility, but will also ensure that the child grows up to be a selfless individual. The child realises at a very early age the importance of feeding the future now. This can ensure that the country will not have to see future generations that suffered malnutrition when they were young. This is a message that has to be imbibed by the present generation.

India has been ranked very low in the Global Hunger Index and it is something that needs our immediate attention. The current generations should give lessons in social service to their children so that the future generations grow up to the responsible individuals.

This will ensure that the country will have mentally and physically healthy individuals. At the same time, it would have dealt with the issues arising from hidden hunger which is more common in developing countries. Children may be able to get a stomach full of food. But, the quality of food a child gets is what’s important. That’s where Akshaya Patra ensures a balanced mid-day meal for over 1.6 million school children everyday across the country. Anyone who have imbibed the quality of selflessness will definitely want to extend any help to any individual or an NGO that helps those in need.

One can feed a child today to ensure healthier future generations. But, the desire to help must be developed at a very young age for which parents can play a role.

Feeding the future now, we can ensure we live in a healthy nation

For a person to live a healthy life, a proper diet is a must. It is more so in case of children who are in their growing years. A balanced diet can ensure that the immunity of a person is well maintained.

Oct 17, 2017

Some of the NGOs in India play a major role in ensuring that school-going children are able to get a full meal. Malnourished children experience developmental delays, weight-loss and illness as a result of inadequate intake of protein, calories and other nutrients. Anaemia, osteomalacia/rickets are among the diseases that could affect children who do not get a balanced diet.

The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s mid-day meals supplied to thousands of schools ensures healthy and balanced diet for children. As a part of the Feed The Future Now campaign, the NGO is trying to reach 5 million children by 2020.

Chronic undernutrition is said to plague more than 925 million people worldwide. Prolonged deficiency leads to malnutrition. Human body can easily fall prey to diseases if the body is not well-nourished. When children face malnutrition they tend to fall ill more often than those children who have a well-balanced and nutritious food. Hidden hunger is also considered to be a major reason for malnourished children.

Well, this situation can be banished or relegated to history if you make charity donations. Akshaya Patra also ensures that every rupee you donate reaches the children. They get to eat a healthy mid-day meal from the nutritious value the food contains. The food is cooked in state-of-the-art kitchen which ensures that there is a minimal wastage of the resources.

Perhaps it’s only a matter of time when India will be free of malnourishment among children with the numerous efforts being made. Be a part of the change, feed a child today to ensure that they remain healthy and attend school regularly.