School to ensure food security of tribal kids during summer holidays

Kerala


When the State announced summer holidays for its schools from April 2, the first thought that flashed through the mind of Biju Thomas was about his children. Specifically, their stomachs.

As headmaster of the Government Tribal LP School in Attathodu, he clearly knew how much these kids were reliant on the free-food distributed at the school. Having been to their hamlets inside the Sabarimala forests on more than one occasion, he, along with other teachers in the school, had discovered the meaning of poverty firsthand.

Hence, they came up with a straightforward solution to deliver free meal packets at their door steps till the classes reopen in June. Supported by a Ranni-based charitable trust, the school has now engaged a Kudumbasree canteen to deliver these food packets in the two tribal settlements of Manjathodu and Plappally on a daily basis.

Of the total 40 students in the school, as many as 27 belong to these two settlements, which are located inside the Sabarimala forests.

“Access to food, as far as these kids are concerned, is an everyday challenge as well as an academic barrier and whenever the school remains closed, they are missing more than a classroom. We are turning these lessons into action and will ensure our kids access to food at least once a day for the next two months,’‘ explained Mr. Thomas.

As many as 60 noon-meal packets will be distributed across these two settlements under the scheme , which will also cover other children from the families that are struggling to cope. The expenditure per day is estimated to be around ₹2,400 per day, a portion of which will be borne by the school staff.

The scheme, according to Mr. Thomas, is an extension of the programme that seeks to offer the kids nutritional food three times a day on all working days. “It is being run in association with the Ranni-Perunad panchayat, and has evoked good response among the students and their families. We now hope to carry on this momentum throughout the holidays and serve the children in these two locations irrespective of their schools,” he added.

District Collector Divya S. Iyer is slated to inaugurate the project at a function to be held at the school on April 13. Ranni legislator Pramod Narayan will also attend.



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