Malnourished kids in govt school get free breakfast

Malnourished kids in govt school get free breakfast

Sarala Menon, former president, Inner Wheel Club of Bangalore IT Corridor (IWCBITC), distributing food to children of the Government Lower Primary School at Pattandur Agrahara, Whitefield, on Thursday. DH Photo/Grace Hauck

Their eyes lit up as they tore open a white plastic packet containing a banana, a bun, a biscuit and a hard boiled egg.

These students, many of who are children of migrant construction labourers in Whitefield, ate their first meal on Thursday since the government-sponsored lunch the day before. Now, they'll eat a free breakfast every morning, that is only if they stay in the same place long enough.

Upahaar — a collaboration between Inner Wheel Club of Bangalore IT Corridor (IWCBITC) and Rotary Bangalore IT Corridor — is a pilot programme that provides breakfast to 250 students at the government schools in Pattandur Agrahara and Gandhipura in East Bengaluru. The initiative is sponsored by IT company, IBS.

"Food is the motivating factor for them to come to school," said former IWCBITC president Sarala Menon.

Many of these schoolchildren suffer from stunted growth, have sunken eyes, breathing problems and white patches on their faces — all signs of malnourishment, according to club member Seema Rohan.

But malnourishment isn't the only challenge these students face.

They frequently switch schools as their parents are always on the move in search of new jobs. Approximately 80% of the students at Pattandur Agrahara stay in school for four to five years, while 20% stick on for only one or two years, according to headmaster Muniraju.

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