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Food for Thought by Meeta Chaitanya: Maruthi's Dream

Meeta Chaitanya
Columnist for The Times of India

Give back ‘to’ and ‘by’ teaching

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is spawning another equally edifying mission – teaching for a cause. This is not about education merely, but the way education can become a catalyst of change for those who see it as a passion for life.

As role models, the teachers at The Akshaya Patra sponsored schools - 2,627 Government schools in five locations of the state, namely Bangalore; Bellary; Hubli; Mangalore and Mysore – are decidedly engaging with more than just young minds. They are actionably affective as representatives of tomorrow’s promise to young students – most of who see them as their own future.

A future that they are excited about, aspire to and are diligently working toward- buoyed by the nutritious mid-day meal that continues to be a coveted incentive for going to school!

"I want to teach as many kids as possible and help them stand on their own feet.” These are not just the words of an aspiring teacher; rather these are the words of a student at one of The Akshaya Patra sponsored schools, Maruthi L.R.  

A mid-day meal beneficiary, Maruthi is acutely aware of the need for education in order for one to succeed and has already made his mind up about becoming one of the fundamental instruments of change – a teacher. In Maruthi’s case, this resolve is even more earnest because he started his schooling late and his elder sister never had the chance to do so at all.  

Maruthi sees days gone as days lost. He is determined to make his future count by ensuring other children are never impeded by lack of food, or lack of education. “I have gone through hardships and hence I know the significance of one meal to sustain one through the day in school”, says he.

While talking about his school and his ambition of becoming a teacher-change maker, Maruthi expresses his gratitude towards Akshaya Patra saying, “The mid-day meal has not only helped me but also many others like me who come to school on empty stomach. The freshly cooked Akshaya Patra mid-day meal is like a blessing for us, especially during summer holidays.”

Such stories of change are being seeded in the minds and hearts of 460,046 children across the state of Karnataka alone. The story of each beneficiary such as Maruthi is a story of hope that is being fueled every day through food and education. Maruthi has been nourished by more than just a good meal – though that’s what started it – his mind, his thinking and his conscience have taken him from being a beneficiary to becoming a benefactor…a teacher in the making!

The Akshaya Patra Foundation implements the mid-day meal program across 20 locations in India. Through this program Akshaya Patra is able to feed 1.3 million mid-day meal beneficiaries.

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