‘I hate school, Mummy. I don’t want to go today’, declared Aarav sitting on the low stool and putting on his school shoes.
‘Why Aarav? ‘ asked mummy.
‘The teacher makes me study so much, it is so boring’, said Aarav, ‘What is the use of studying Maths or Geography or English..and then History. All so boring’.
Mummy smilingly looked at Aarav and said. ‘’Ok dear, let me tell you a story of a little boy named Anand. Like you, he is also 9 years old. He is very poor and he never goes to school’.
That caught Aarav’s attention. ‘Oh lucky Anand. Wish I could also have a free life’.
Mummy continued, ‘But, unlike you, Anand wanted to go to school. He loved to learn Maths, Geography and History’.
‘Crazy’, thought Aarav.
‘His mother also wanted Anand to go to school. But if Anand went to school, then who will go to work’.
‘Work??’ asked Aarav questioningly.
‘Yes..he works in a small hotel nearby. He earns about 50 rupees a day. With that money, his mother would buy food to feed the family consisting of herself, Anand and his younger siblings, aged 5 and 6’.
‘But Mummy, why did Anand’s mother not go to work, so Anand could go to school’, Aarav asked.
‘Because, if Anand’s mother went to work, then there was no one to look after Anand’s younger brother and sister who were too young to take care of themselves’.
‘But Mummy, still I am happy that Anand can skip school and spend all his time as he wishes. Atleast there is no homework’.
‘No dear. Anand works from 6 am in the morning till late night. He has got into some bad habits too like smoking. With no education, what will he do when he grows up? He will not have a lot of opportunities. His brother and sister will also grow up uneducated. Soon he may start indulging in petty crimes for money and may end up in prison too.’
‘Aww Mummy, how awful? How can we help?’, asked Aarav now beginning to feel sorry for Anand.
‘By supporting the mid-day meal scheme provided by NGOs like Akshaya Patra. They provide free, healthy, nutritious meals in schools. This scheme has ensured increased enrollment in schools. In schools providing mid-day meals, the students do not drop out at early stages. This will ensure that the children will get basic primary education. It’s a fact, many poor children go to school and stay in school only because of the mid-day meal scheme. A healthy body will ensure a healthy mind and a much better future. Their primary aim is to provide mid-day meals free of cost. I have been contributing for the same for the past few years.’
‘WHY don’t you also contribute? Visit their website to know how you can contribute. All it takes is Rs. 750 a year to feed one child. That is just Rs.3 a day. ‘
‘Okay Mummy, I understand that going to school is not a wasteful exercise. In fact, it is the most important base for having a better life. And I will also contribute to Akshaya Patra‘.