“It is important that we nurture the emotional quotient in our students and we have found a great way of doing that,” shares Gyan Prakash Dubey, counsellor at Sri Mahaprabhu Public School (CBSE) in Prayagraj.
The co-ed school took pledge on World Food Day i.e. 16 October 2019 to send food to the needy. Each student contributes one roti each day and these collected rotis are sent to caregivers who wait outside hospitals. So far they have successfully completed 40 days of this initiative.
The idea for the campaign
It all started when students of grades 9 and 10 were having some discussions regarding world hunger during their Food Production class. Encouraged by the interest of the students in the topic, the school principal, Mrs Ravinder Birdie, planned to go beyond discussions and actively do something about the problem.
She suggested that with the help of volunteers, they could collect and distribute food among those in need. This was how the idea of a food bank within the school came into being.
“We realised that while we are imparting bookish knowledge to the children, we had to do more to make them understand and empathise with the world around them. This campaign not only impacts the life of the needy people but has also helps us make our children more aware and sensitive to the needs of others,” says Dubey.
The principal then informed all the students about the initiative and its objectives. She offered the students the choice of bringing one roti in their tiffin box each day, apart from their regular lunch.
“We had many rounds of discussions and deliberations with the teachers, staff, and students. This was never forced upon the students and we merely suggested that if they could bring one extra roti each day, it would help,” informs Dubey.
Dubey shares how in one day they collected more than 2000 rotis for the food bank.
The school came up with a system of collecting the extra roti. A monitor is assigned to each class who helps the class teacher collect the rotis. All the collected rotis would then be transferred to a large basket placed on each floor. All these baskets are shifted to the Food bank. All this is done every morning after the school assembly.
While the rotis are collected from the children and staff members, the principal arranges for some pickle that is given along with the rotis.
Where does the food get distributed?
“Once we have collected the rotis, five senior students (from grade 9 to 12) accompany two teachers on a rotational basis to Swarooprani Nehru Hospital between 9.30 to 11.00 AM. Here, the rotis are distributed among the caretakers of the patients. These guardians often go hungry due to financial crunch,” says Dubey.
The principal lends her vehicle to ferry the team to and from the hospital.
“We conducted a bit of research to narrow in on the hospital that had the most needy people. And once we found it, we started going there regularly.”
With their hearts in the right place, these kids and teachers have come up with an idea that schools across the country can replicate to help those in need.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)