International Youth Day 2018: Let’s Bring Food Closer to Children

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You can’t build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery. When Late Nobel Laureate Dr Norman Earnest Borlaug said those words, he was thinking of the future. Recognised worldwide for his methods of increasing food production in Asia and Africa, Dr Borlaug’s efforts continue to inspire non-profit organisations towards supplying food for the hungry to ensure all are nourished.

One such endeavour is the United Nations Population Fund that’s celebrating International Youth Day with its theme “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption.” The UN wishes to channelise young people through youth development programs in order to address more than 500 million youth who are underdeveloped worldwide. We, at Akshaya Patra, couldn’t be more excited as we target to feed 5 million children by 2020, who would be the youth of tomorrow. We believe nourishing the youth begins with feeding the hungry children wholesome food and bringing them to school.

Social development in children

With stomach full of nutrition and minds filled with knowledge, children can actively contribute in the economic growth and development in future. Studies show that children’s social development is subject to the interaction between genes and environmental variables. For instance, children may have the genes to grow tall, but if they do not have the proper nutrition, they may never achieve full height. That’s precisely why Akshaya Patra emphasises on incentivising schoolchildren with nutritious food. Apart from mid-day meal programme, Akshaya Patra also runs feeding initiatives for expecting and lactating mothers, feeding the hungry in special schools to ensure that children get adequate nutrition.

Education and development

UN’s Sustainability Goals also addresses the Generation Z of today who would be the youth of 2030. Akshaya Patra has been feeding schoolchildren who are majorly in need of a healthy food and uninterrupted education. Apart from bringing food for the hungry, the Foundation organises after-class tuitions, life skills and scholarship programmes. We endeavour to inculcate a sense of ethics and social responsibility among children so they grow up to become contributing citizens.

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Scientists have defined four different types of development milestones for children. They are physical, cognitive, social and emotional and communication milestones. While our mid-day meal programme takes care of the first need, our social initiatives ensure that they get a complete environment to achieve the rest of the three milestones.

You may be young or young-at-heart, but if you have been pining to contribute to a non-profit organisation involved in causes related to hunger or lack of education among children, International Youth Day is the perfect time to contribute. As you decide to volunteer or contribute in some way, you join millions of young volunteers worldwide who would come together for youth development programmes in their attempt to achieve the UN Sustainability Goal set for 2030.