Child activist Grace Abbott once said, “Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labor of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labor to the end of time.” On June 12, 2013 the world will celebrate World Day Against Child Labor and recommit itself to eradicating child labor . Child labor endangers the lives of children and prevents them from accessing the educational opportunities that can truly deliver them out of poverty.
Grace Abbott's words ring true in India, where some 26.8 million children are not attending school. Many come from impoverished families that struggle to earn the basic necessities. Economic necessities push some 45.2 million of these children (14 %) to take up menial labor jobs instead of going to school. 60% of children who dropped out of school cited the need to supplement family income through household chores and domestic work, and another 30% cited the need to earn money. In order to provide for their basic needs, families have to focus on short term goals, suing their children's labor. As a result, these families remain caught in a vicious cycle of poverty.
The story of Vishal, the little magician from Jaipur, is typical of many children caught in the cycle of poverty and illustrates how Akshaya Patra's innovative school lunch program is changing the equation for over 1.3 million under-privileged children. At one time you could find Vishal performing magic tricks in the streets of Jaipur. His mother, who works as a day laborer, says “I am forced to send my children to earn. Every parent has a dream, but my day-to-day thoughts are all about feeding our hungry stomachs. Earlier I would tell him to work the entire day, but because he gets good food and at the same time learns some lessons, I allow him to attend school most of the days.” She hopes that Vishal doesn’t lead a life of hardship and hopes that education will transform his life.
Your support of Akshaya Patra can make a difference in the lives of children by providing them with meals that act as an incentive for them to come to school, instead of to work.
The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been ranked 24th in the world in the Global Journal’s 2013 edition of their 100 Top NGOs annual ranking. The Global Journal, an international journal based in Geneva, selects the top NGOs around the world that exemplify three key criteria: impact, innovation, and sustainability. Akshaya Patra was ranked 1st of these NGOs for the “Children & Youth” category.
Our program is making a positive impact in the lives of over one million children. With your continued support, we are sure to reach our next milestone of feeding five million deserving children by 2020! Thank you for supporting our program!
As the holiday season quickly approaches I can't help but feel thankful and joyous at all we have been able to accomplish this year with the support of compassionate donors like you. Below are some highlights of what we have been up to since August 2012:
Akshaya Patra continues to serve a nuritious meal to nearly 1.4 million children DAILY and we are well on our way to reaching our goal of feeding 5 million children by 2020. Your support has enabled this growth and brought smiles of hope to the faces of deserving children. During the upcoming holidays, let us remember the Akshaya Patra children who have become part of our families and that each of us has made a commitment to ensure that hunger is not a barrier to education for them.
Here's hoping the holidays brings you and your family bright sparkles of contentment and peace that stay with you throughout the year!
All the best,