Despite a quickly growing economy, from 2014 to 2019, India’s poverty rate has remained a point of concern among philanthropic organizations for decades as about 22% of the country is classified as poor. The cycle of chronic poverty in families is difficult to escape and students may leave school before fully completing their education for various reasons, particularly girls.
Once old enough, many children in the poorest families or regions will drop out of school in order to make money for themselves and their families. According to a report from UNESCO, 60 million people across the world could be lifted out of poverty with just two more years of education, and 420 million could escape poverty if every adult completed secondary education.
In 2000, India’s government declared that all children in government schools would have access to free midday meals to address classroom hunger. This was an attempt to minimize the school dropout rate and increase school attendance. As a partner of the government’s program, Akshaya Patra has fed more than 498,000,000 meals every year since.
Many may wonder why the Akshaya Patra Foundation chooses to support education through school lunches. We’re working to solve the underlying causes of India’s lower education rate. By providing meals for students, they are able to stay in school for an education, no longer needing to drop out to feed themselves. Students are allowed to take as many servings as they please, and may even pack leftovers to take home to their families. It is not uncommon to see a student’s younger sibling come to school at mealtime to also receive food, setting a fantastic example for what they can expect at school in the future.
At the Akshaya Patra Foundation, we see a future that is food secure and equitable. Our organization is committed to unlocking children and their families from the vicious and perpetual cycle of poverty. Consider donating and changing the lives of India’s children, and their families along with them.