Feeding India supplies the school one meal everyday, given to students at the end of the day. Pictured: Delhi students, 2013. Photograph: (Getty)
Despite having the world's 7th-largest economy, almost 200 million people in India lack adequate food, many of them children
India is one of the world's fastest growing economies. Currently it is the seventh-largest, and experts say it can move to third by next decade. Yet, the country is unable to provide access to an adequate amount of food for a large section of the population.
According to the United Nations, 194.6 million people in India are undernourished. This translates to just over 15 per cent of the country’s population. Three thousand children in India die everyday from diet related illness, and 30.7 per cent of children under the age of 5 are underweight.
It's impossible to reconcile statistics about such dire hunger against the country's economic growth. While most people don't really do much to fix, or even alleviate, widespread hunger in India, one youth organisation decided to step up and lead the way.
Ankit Kawatra, founder and chairman of Feeding India, started the organisation back in 2014. The non-profit organisation takes excess food from weddings, restaurants, and individuals and gives them to people in need of it. WION got in touch with one of the schools Feeding India works with and visited the site.
The building, located in the outskirts of New Delhi, resonated with a chorus of young, innocent voices reciting tables. As we walked into the classroom some 30-35 kids sat on the ground, in two equally divided rows, one behind the other. They wore smiles on their faces and looked eager to see us with the camera.
Feeding India, a non-profitable organisation, is trying to battle starvation in India. They take excess food from weddings, corporates, restaurants as well as individuals and distribute it to people in need of it (WION)
The school receives one meal everyday from Feeding India that is given to the kids after school. WION spoke to one of the young students and asked him what he enjoyed most about school. His reply was, “I love coming here because I get very tasty food.”
At 4 pm, a van full of food arrived at the school. Volunteers carried the purple buckets and brought up inside, where it was then emptied into cauldrons.
The meal comprised of rice, chapati, daal, some vegetable and raita. From the look of it, the food seemed quite appetising. When the school day ended, the kids could barely wait to eat. They jumped out of their spots and almost ran out the door. But they had one more hurdle to pass before they could eat: hand washing. I noticed the caretakers at the school made sure every child washed their hands before they received their meal.
After they finished eating, they quickly left their plates in the sink, grabbed their bags and went back home.
Shrishti Jain, Feeding India's chief marketing officer, told WION that two years ago Kawatra attended a wedding, where he saw how much food was wasted. This gave him the idea to create Feeding India, marking the birth of this youth-run organisation. Since the country can't feed its children despite its expanding economy, more efforts like Kawatra's are sadly necessary.
(Contributed by: Laden Bhutia)