Hunger - the means of all evils in the world continues to be a medium driving millions of people to death every year. Claiming more lives than fatal diseases like cancer or AIDS, it’s devastating to know that there is a family or a child out there who might not see the light of dawn, because of starvation. The fact that people are dying because of the lack of food goes against several humanitarian laws in every country, but unfortunately, no power in the world has been able to curb this silent-killing endemic.
In India for instance, over 25 lakhs people die due to hunger every year. And what makes this even more tragic and infuriating is that our country wastes 40% of the food that is produced, according to the United Nation Development Programme. Unbelievable? But it’s true. Hunger is also the root cause of several other societal hurdles in India. One of them is illiteracy. Though it’s a debatable clause as to what came first – hunger or illiteracy? Hunger kills, illiteracy may or may not.
Several children today end up skipping school because they are either too weak to attend, to study or they are looking for food with their families. We are speaking about those downtrodden and below poverty-stricken sectors of the nation who rely on discarded meals, stale food, or leftovers in garbage bins to survive. There’s no breakfast, lunch, or dinner for them. They eat when they find food because no one knows when the next meal would be. So, education even if free becomes the second preference for these families who are looking for means to feed themselves.
Hence, why freshly-cooked meals were made essential to bring the food-deprived children to school. Government schools started introducing mid-day meals, and several NGOs inculcated free meals with education for underprivileged students, and as a result, the attendance witnessed massive growth. The Annamrita Foundation which is backed by the Government of India has been feeding over millions of children in 6566 schools across India. Likewise, the Dharma Bharathi Mission is fighting hunger and educating over 2500 children in 18 schools all over the country. The Akshay Patra Foundation on the other hand runs what it claims is the world's largest school lunch programme to end child hunger and to support education feeds 1.9mn students every school day!
But, despite these big-scale and structured NGOs doing their enormous bit, several underprivileged schools were falling out of their radar. Also, it would be unfair to blame these organisations for not reaching out to all, while we turn blind eye to the plight of these food-deprived children in our areas. Coming across one such school is exactly what encouraged Sonali Ghosh, a working mother of two, to take responsibility in her hand. She couldn’t sit back and watch these students who belonged to the most downtrodden sections in the society, miss school out of starvation.
Just like any other working woman sailing through the challenges of handling motherhood and her strenuous job, her motherly instinct made her reach out to these students with home-made fresh parathas. With no experience of community service, she first connected to her network of friends, and with all the resources she could manage, Sonali kick-started Happy Parathas with 100 children at a local school. The result - A massive increase in every day’s attendance! More and more students turned up, even though for parathas, they were showing up to school and it was a big win for Sonali, who was supplying these parathas with the help of a cook at home.
A simple yet impactful gesture, Sonali and her team’s participatory philanthropy to feed and educate these students has made Giving Circle want to support her and celebrate her endearing cause. Hitting two evils with one stone, though the Government of India and several NGOs are striving to ensure no child is deprived of basic meals and education, a few more hands like yours and mine will only make this task easier. Giving Circle is always working towards bringing such acts of kindness into the spotlight that may go unnoticed in society. There are local heroes like Sonali Ghosh, whose Happy Parathas have become a hope for children to rush to school every day. To know more about her cause and goodwill, visit Sonali on Giving Circle
Simple, yet effective, her motive is inspiring and it sends out a clear message that even if the effort is small, what matters is making an effort to save a life. Join this War on Hunger, and let us save every soul from the pit of starvation and malnourishment with something as basic as a fresh-cooked meal.