What a heart-warming grin it was, lighting up his face, bringing many a twinkle to his eyes. Still grinning, he commented how ‘badhiya’ the photos were, prompting me to pull a chair for him and asking him to sit and check out more of the ‘badhiya photos’. In between showing him the travel photos, I learn that his name is Suraj and his parents are daily wagers working on a road maintenance project down the same highway. With pride in his eyes he shares that he has studied till class 2 and that there were two peacocks and 5 rabbits in his school.
School was fun for Suraj, but unfortunately it did not last long, for his parents could neither afford the school fees and stationary expenses, nor could they earn enough for the family of 4 to have three square meals daily. And so the school had to be abandoned for the sake of stomach.
The desolate and bereft look was back on his face. All of 11 years old, he was working full time now, at the dhabha, doing miscellaneous tasks all day long – all for a salary of Rs 500 per month and free food. How incredibly sad is this. While we pause not a second before doling out cash for that sumptuous meal, or that overpriced donut, there are kids who go through such relentless struggles to just stay afloat. School is nothing but a fanciful idea for them.
While this incident I have written about presents a bleak picture about hunger winning against education, the Akshaya Patra Foundation is making ‘the fanciful idea of school’ a happy reality for kids like Suraj. This NGO runs school lunch programme across the country, with the vision – No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.
Hunger has eliminated the word classroom from Suraj’s world. Can we all not come together and help remove the word hunger from every classroom and every less privileged student’s heart and mind? Yes, we can, and here's how -
- By being conscientious and thoughtful in how we spend money.
- By not wasting food.
- By donating to the noble cause of eliminating classroom hunger.
You'd be surprised to know that Akshaya Patra feeds a child for one whole academic year for Rs. 750. Isn't that incredible, the fact that the amount you would probably spend on your one restaurant bill can help a child stay in school for one year. Hope this inspires you to donate for this worthy cause. And yes, I am doing my bit too - for every post I write, Blogadda will sponsor meals for an Akshaya Patra beneficiary for an entire year, as a part of Bloggers Social Responsibilty. It's a happy feeling to know that the words you are weaving will help feed a hungry child, and will help her stay in school for another year.
I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and Blogadda.