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Divya Bharti awaits her turn for meals
A class VII student waits for over 24 hours to get her meals.

On Mondays, the school attendance is maximum, thanks to the mid-day meal scheme at government schools. The reason being, some of the students would have had their last meal 48 hours ago on Saturday in the same school premises.

That's the reality, despite the fact that Food Security Act and several other government schemes are in place to feed the hungry and the deprived. At times, the mid-day meal scene seems to be like a drop in the ocean. Students wish to have one more bite of the food. Several times the students fall short of the food and wait for another 24 hours for their turn to come.

Last Monday, one such girl, Divya Bharti rushed to the principal's room complaining of having not received the food. The food had got exhausted. The hunger for food and desperateness was visible on her face. And, the principal immediately offered the food from her own tiffin box.

14-year old Divya Bharti resembles the childhood face of Bollywood actress, but unlikely misses out the resources and ambience. Before coming to school, she hardly has anything to eat in the morning. The dinner is not certain, and comes through only if her father has been fortunate enough to make it into some potter's job during the daytime.

Her father is a daily wage labourer and hardly earns  Rs 180 on alternative days in a month. Divya is the youngest of the three siblings. Her elder sister Priya too studies in the same school (Nishta Group) in Class IX.

The Government Girls Senior Secondary school at Dallupura has a provision of 'Students welfare fund' which is used to organize events on special occasions like Independence Day or Republic Day.

For this, every student is supposed to contribute Rs 50 per month. Most of the students are unable to contribute and generally it's the class teachers who donate on their behalf. Teachers play the role of a 'Good Samaritan'.

These mid-day meals act as a catalyst to bring back the school dropouts into the mainstream of studies through the Chunauti scheme of Delhi Govt. Many students who opted out of the school after repeated failures were eagerly waiting for an opportunity like this to reenter the school and be partakers in the lunch.

Also, Chunauti has been a blessing to have a provision of supporting such weak students like Divya (Nishta group) in developing their reading and writing skills. Who knows, one day Divya Bharti too will make it into films!

(The author, Manoj Varghese is a journalist by profession and SBCC specialist)

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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