Harsha never misses a mid-day meal
“Education is teaching our children to desire the right things.” – Plato. The quote holds true for the students at The Government High School in Shivnahalli, Bangalore. This school is a promising one. Lots of students have graduated with flying colours and are doing well for themselves, their main motivation being education. The Headmistress Kamalakshmi Hiremath credits her teachers for upholding the teaching standards in school. “Prime importance should be given to education. My colleagues are well versed in their subjects and we ensure every child is taken care of,” she says. This fact holds true because most of the students credit their teachers for maintaining good educational standards.
Harsha, a class IX student is especially appreciative of his teacher’s abilities. “Be it English or mathematics, all our teachers conduct interesting classes for us. I find mathematics interesting because I am able to solve equations and sums easily," says Harsha.
As we converse further with Harsha, he opens up more about his life. Hailing from Mysuru, Harsha’s father is carpenter who earns just enough to make ends meet. His mother, a housewife passed away due to an accident. Harsha recounts what happened to his mother. “Just like any mother, she would cook for us and do all the housework. But one day while washing clothes, she accidently slipped and fell into a well and lost her life.” The sudden tragedy took a toll on Harsha even though he was quite young when the incident happened.
Soon Harsha’s father decided to send his son to Bengaluru. His uncle Rajesh, decided to look after the boy till he completes his education. Due to his busy schedule, Rajesh couldn’t accommodate Harsha at his residence and enrolled Harsha at a boy’s hostel close to school. Whenever Rajesh gets some time off, he calls on Harsha to check on his well-being. “To get away from thinking about the tragedy, my uncle opted for me to come to Bengaluru and for this I am grateful to my uncle for his support. Despite his busy schedule, he still takes care of me. I go out with him sometimes to explore the city. But I also miss my father. Back in Mysuru, he works hard to make ends meet. Sometimes, I feel like going back and helping him but I know I have to complete my education," said Harsha.
Harsha is very level headed when it comes to making decisions in life. His straightforward persona reflects a determined boldness. “I want to join the police force. It inspires me because I want to be of great help to the public. I want to uphold law and order in Bengaluru and make it a safe place for everyone. Right now I know that I have a responsibility and that is to take care of my father once I reach my aspiration,” he says.
Harsha has been an Akshaya Patra beneficiary for the past two years and there is not one day he has missed the meal, except if he was absent or unwell. With great enthusiasm, Harsha recites the full menu during the week and says that there is not one day he hasn’t liked the meal. “The hostel provides us with food daily but I don’t like it as much as I like the Akshaya Patra meal. I love the mid-day meals served by Akshaya Patra especially the pulao (rice based dish cooked in a broth). Every day my concentration in class is extended because of this nutritious meal,” he adds.
Most of the children and teachers at the school praise Akshaya Patra for providing mid-day meals to the school. A few even joined school because they heard about the mid-day meal. “It is not an unfamiliar fact that some children come hungry to school. Some of them are here because of a promised meal. This meal boosts the confidence of the children and this helps them focus on their studies. Akshaya Patra has benefited many children in my school and I am grateful for that,” added Mrs. Hiramath.
I am Jyotiranjan Das – the film features a 10-yr-old student who is a trained Gotipua dancer from Raghurajpur (Heritage Village in Puri), Odisha. Jyotiranjan lives at the hostel facility provided by the dance academy and his day begins with dance