Chennai: When a nation’s staggering 115 million children are at risk of malnutrition it is time for society to acknowledge that a catastrophic situation is brewing.
As the world’s largest school lunch programme run by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, was disrupted and families were pushed into poverty by the coronavirus pandemic, realisation dawned that children from marginalised groups were headed towards triple ills of hunger, malnutrition, and starvation.
With the aim to mitigate childhood hunger through the pandemic, the Foundation announced the launch of the Happiness kit to support children from vulnerable communities and their families.
Happiness kit comprises food items that provide essential nutrients for daily consumption leading to the health, growth, and development of a child. The pulses, spices, peanuts, jaggery, biscuits and other food items in the Kit, are to supplement and enhance the nutritional intake of children and their families, above and beyond the set allocation of grains by Central & State Governments and MHRD.
The kit also includes a soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and sanitary pads to promote hygiene in children. To exercise their cognitive abilities, activity-based learning workbooks are also included in respective regional languages.
This kit contains essential nutrients like Glucose, Iron & Calcium, Iodine, Protein that help boost the immunity of the child. Each kit has a nutritional value of 717.5 g of protein and 22,175 Cal of energy, while on a per meal basis each child receives 23.9 g of protein and 739 Cal of energy.