Tiruchirapalli

Noon-meal scheme: salad days are here

Students at Subbiah Memorial School in Thennur hand over vegetables as part of an initative to
encourage healthy eating.

Students at Subbiah Memorial School in Thennur hand over vegetables as part of an initative to encourage healthy eating.   | Photo Credit: M. Srinath

'Atchayapathiram' encourages students to bring raw vegetables from home daily.

Students of Subbiah Memorial School in Thennur will now be getting supplements such as fresh salads and accompaniments with their noon meal thanks to Atchayapathiram, an initiative to encourage students to bring raw vegetables from home daily.

The initiative was introduced after parents regularly complained about their children avoiding vegetables. “Most parents are children of daily wage labourers and do not get hot, healthy meals. The mid-day meals scheme provides healthy food which will be supplemented with these vegetables,” said K.S. Jeevanandhan, headmaster.

The idea was conceived by S. Sivakumar, former principal, District Institute of Education and Training, Kancheepuram. “This initiative will ensure that students learn the value of sharing, and are encouraged to grow as tolerant individuals who grow in a society without discrimination,” he said.

With fluctuation in prices of vegetables, it is difficult for parents to provide nutritious food and the school has taken the onus upon itself to feed them, including breakfast. “We give breakfast for the students, which are usually provided by donors. On days where donors are unavailable, I pay for it,” he said.

The school has 150 students, and even one bean pod or carrot from each student will make a world of difference. “If 150 students bring one carrot or bean, we will have enough for a week. We have been able to collect at least 2 kg of vegetables each day so far. The children do not eat vegetables at home, but here, out of fear they eat it,” he said.

Some students even pack food for dinner. “There are some whose parents work until late at night. They pack the noon meal or breakfast for the night. When all their meals are eaten at school, all their dietary needs, especially in growing children, must be met,” he added.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 5:48:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/noon-meal-scheme-salad-days-are-here/article30848658.ece

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