A New Lexicon of Learning- Meals, Empathy and Compassion

Jul 13, 2016 | Posted by admin in Events & Happenings   No Comments »

Mr Shridhar Venkat

We all have experienced hunger and know how to fend the same. Worriless. Contrastively, there are thousands of children who sleep hungry. And education for them remains a distant dream. We take hunger (and satiating it ) for ‘granted’. The synergy between  food and education is no revelation but a thought provoking connect.Can one focus on learning without food ? Surprising..  discussing  something as elemental as food and hunger.  But elemental is essential. It was Mr.Shridhar Venkat, CEO- Akshay Patra talking to the new batch at Welingkar, Bengaluru during the foundation fortnight- Neev 2016.

Venkat averred, ‘Food is the incentive for education’. Parents whose children attend the ‘Mid –Day’ meal scheme of Akshya Patra, usually earn Rs.6000 per month and the average size of the family is 6.   Also, each day – 3000 children die of hunger because of poor diet. Around 30.7% of children under age 5 are underweight and 1 in 4 children is malnourished. He further stated that India is home to 40% of worlds malnourished children. Hunger affects and hampers the education set up in the country and about 8.1 million children are out of schools. A sorry state of affairs.

Mr Shridhar Venkat with Dr Anil Rao

Citing an example of a student – Darshan,  son of a security guard whose income was Rs.1500/- month, how ‘Education’ play a pivotal role in  liberating the family from the clutches of poverty.  Darshan’s  poor report card  changed markedly, when his Government School – started receiving the ‘Midday – Meal’.  Darshan attention span expanded and  its impact on studies was substantial and his academic performance increased each year and in 10th grade he received 92 percent and later on entered the field of IT and secured a good position and income that secured his family future. The mid- day meal scheme is a great  incentive. In some parts of the country it has helped increase  the number of girls in the classroom.

Venkat mentioned how his team at Akshay Patra reached 1.5 million children in  11,000 schools in 10 states in the country across 24 locations.  In Bangalore, 100,000 children in Government schools have access to mid –meals. The joy and happiness on  a child’s  face after  the meal gives him immense delight and satisfaction. Referring to the need of a customized menu for children in south and north India he said research revealed the children have different palette and hence it was important to design menu accordingly.

The questioning minds

During the Q&A session, when a student questioned whether the poverty is man made or natural? Venkat, replied that poverty is man made due to indifference, callous attitude and greed of people. According to him, if the developed countries  save  10% of their consumption, it can feed one-third of the world.He further advocated that to change the world – it is important to be compassionate citizen to ensure that no one is hungry.

Explaining  his switch over to the  social sector  he said, ‘ I am ambitious’ However, one should have existential purpose in life’.  Money and power is important, but we should do something for our motherland. The success of mid meal is also attributed to decline in crime rates in the areas where the Mid-Day meal is served.Lastly, in closing remarks he said behavior of parents is of utmost importance when concerned ‘Wastage of Food’, If parents waste food, then child will too waste Food’.

The audience –faculty and students were deeply impressed with the lasting thoughts on ‘Food’ and how we can contribute to the progress of our country. As of judicious use of resources he said we must not waste food. Each grain and a drop of water matters.

Mr VSS Sastry

Next was a session with Mr. VSS Sastry –  Maths Communicator, Origamian and Kirigami expert.  He told the audience that ‘Origami’ is a Japanese word and the art involves use of paper and math to create an art. He showed the audience different types of origami art – which fascinated the class. Origami has been used by NASA in its Satellite expedition and also used in medical sciences – ‘Heart Stent’ in surgery.

Sastry also pointed out the phobia tagged with the subject and said there was a need to bring about a change in how the subject is taught in the classroom.  Highlighting the need of research in the subject, he brought in the great mathematician  S Ramanujan whose contribution to the subject is profound. Scholars world wide have been studying theorems developed by him. Math is adventure and there is a pattern and generalization in the subject as Sastry  sees it.

One of the displayed cartoons

Also the session had an exhibition of cartoons on the subject of Maths – enthralled the young audience.  The cartoons depicted the all pervasive nature of the subject. It may be a housewife or a swimmer each one of us, uses it . Each frame amplified the vastness of the subject.Towards end of the session the students had a session  on origami, wherein they picked up origami laced with principles of Maths.

And the last leg of the day had a  business-quiz  by Prof.Dr. Jai Raj .And the batch seemed to have enjoyed it to the hilt as was evident by the upbeat mood.


Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved. Designed by Singapore SEO SEO Blog  SEO Web Design  Mind Movies