During our initial visits to some of the government schools around the Basantapur Durbar square area Jhochhen, Lagan and Jaisidegal, we identified that clean drinking water and mid day meals were vital to keeping the children in the schools.
Chair and Honorary Patron, Mr. Shanta Das Manandhar, with over 50 years of devout service in running the neighborhood school Shree Bidhyodaya explained to us that lack of clean drinking water was the main reason for children falling ill and the increase in absenteeism.
Immediately, in 2011 Daya Foundation initiated the RO water filtration in the schools along with nutritious midday meals all prepared within the school premises.
The Foundation strongly upholds the belief that child health and education are closely linked for better performance in the classrooms. Children will not be able to focus in the class if they come to school on meager meals like biscuits, “Pauroti Chia” (bread & tea) and dry noodles. The Principal went on to explain, that the parents in the early hours of the morning have to open their vegetable stalls or Chia stands and leave their children home alone to feed themselves before school time. The nutritious mid day meals project improved the children’s school registration from 50 to 80 children within the year of implementation at Shree Bidhyodaya Primary School, Jhochhen. This was encouraging for all concerned.
Today even after the mid - day meal program has supplemented their “Pauroti Chia khaja” some parents unfortunately send the children to school hungry, mainly for the nutritious “Dal Bhat” “Chana Tarkari” meals. This ironically is the stark reality in some of the schools we support, which has presented us with uneasy dilemmas to address the types of support we give.