Govt school shows way through 'Akshaya Butti'

In order to compliment the mid-day meal scheme of the government, Mangalore North Block Education Office has introduced a novel programme ‘Akshaya Butti,’ wherein students will have thier own contribution to make.

‘Akshaya Butti,’ literally meaning a never-emptying basket, involves the making of rich and nutritious mid-day meals by collecting vegetables from children. The school children bring any one vegetable and drop it into a container kept in the school premises. The vegetables collected in the basket will be used to prepare the curry for mid-day meals for all students of the school.

Mangalore North Block education Officer Lokesh C told Deccan Herald that the programme was introduced in July 2013 with the aim of curbing malnutrition in children. There is no restriction as  only government schools should implement the programme. Even the private or aided schools may bring the programme into effect, to make it more children-friendly. A circular has been issued in the regard to all the schools in the purview of Mangalore North Block, the BEO said. However, it is voluntary for the children to bring vegetables, he added.

A success story

Being in the outskirts of Mangalore city, DK ZP Higher Primary School near Malavoor has been successfully implementing the programme, owing to good participation of schoolchildren. The school started the programme in July 2013, receiving an overwhelming response by the children.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, School Headmaster Surendranath Gatti said that apart from the children, vegetable growers in the vicinity of  school too contribute fresh vegetables to ‘Akshaya Butti’ as a result of which the container overflows with vegetables.

Therefore, now the students are told to bring the vegetables on alternative days. As many variety of vegetables are collected in the basket, they are sorted to make different side dishes such as ‘pallya’ etc.

Meanwhile, ‘Koddelu’ and ‘Sambar’ prepared with more than one vegetable is also included in the mid -day meal menu, the headmaster said. This way, children will have more variety in the meal, providing them with all necessary nutrient values. Children even bring coconuts, which make the preparation of mid-day meals almost effortless, he added.The collective effort of the education department and the school have carved a niche for themselves, highlighting the importance of public participation in government programmes and also inspiring many schools to fight malnutrition.

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