You know what they say, ‘you need to nourish to flourish’ which simply translates to say that to maintain a healthy mind and body and ultimately excel in what one’s doing, one needs proper nutrition. The idea here is to begin that nourishment early for children whose families cannot necessarily afford or manage proper sustenance of their children. This eventually results in some children being forced to work, away from what they should actually be doing- going to school and learning to become better individuals.
This is the story of one such young boy named Samir Kaskar who is a student at the Imamwada Urdu School in Masjid Bunder. Samir lives in the crowded Crawford market chawl of Mumbai. His father has a mobile repair booth in Crawford market while his mother is a housewife. His family, originally from UP, migrated to Mumbai 3 years ago for sustenance. Samir is a class 5 student and according to Ms. Godbole, his class teacher, he was very underweight and malnourished when he joined the school 2 years ago. The family was then explained about the importance of a healthy meal at such an important stage in his life. Since then Samir’s father has been very particular that Samir has the mid-day meal served to him every single day. Samir had a lot to say about this too, ” Life was hard back in our village in Aligarh. There were days when I and my younger sister hardly had anything to eat for the entire day. That’s when my father moved us all to Mumbai. I love my new school and my new friends; I especially love the lunch meals. I can eat as much as I like and I’m sure I will get a meal every day, so I’m no longer worried about that. My sister has just joined the school and she too enjoys the meals that we get here. It is such a good thing.” Samir’s weight increased considerably within a years time of starting the meals.
The introduction of mid-day meals is not only a great initiative towards improving the nutritional status of school-age children but also acts as an extra incentive for families to send their children to school. Needless to say, for families like Samir’s, these meals are a sense of great comfort even if it is just one meal.