Malnutrition among children is a major health issue especially in Third World Countries. Any programme intended to address this may succeed if it is run in schools. India has been running the mid-day meals scheme in schools to promote education as well as to ensure the health of students. Several awareness programmes on nutritious foods were conducted across the country last month as Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared September 2019 as ‘Rashtriya Poshan Maah’ (National Nutrition Month). But the way the students of Government Boys Vocational Higher Secondary School at Ettumanoor in Kerala's Kottayam district did it, stood out.
Taking the words of the PM, GVHSS students came to school on Tuesday (October 15) with some nutritious food instead of books. Raw materials for the preparation of food was collected from their households and backyard gardens itself. A food exhibition was subsequently conducted at the school where 60 students presented over 250 nutritious foods which included, juices, tubers, milk products, leafy greens, pulses, jackfruit dishes and many more. Later the food was served.
“We could find a large variety of nutritious foods in our households as there was strict instruction from the authorities to use only raw materials from the households,” the students told Onmanorama.
The objective of the programme was to create awareness about nutrition and holistic well-being and thereby eliminating malnutrition. It also intended to create a feeling among the students that nutritious foods are available within our households and no one should run after packed foods or other fast foods which will bring in serious health issues.
An awareness session was taken by Ettumanoor Assistant Educational Officer Balachandran before the food exhibition. “We are of the view that some kind of practical works will make an impact among the students. Hence, we decided to celebrate Poshan Maah differently,” said Babu KK, Headmaster of the school.
The food exhibition was inaugurated by Ettumanoor Municipal Chairman George Pullattu at a function presided by Ganesh R, the Chairman of the Education Standing Committee of the civic body. “Today most health problems are associated with the food we take. It is quite shameful that we are not taking the food which are available at our households free of cost. I would also like to congratulate the school authorities on this great initiative,” George said in his inaugural address.
The local residents and parents of students also visited the exhibition and had food from here.
The purpose of celebrating the Poshan month is to take the message of nutrition to every nook and corner of the country and to focus on complementary food as well as treatment and prevention of infections in children.
The theme of Rashtriya Poshan Maah 2019 was complementary feeding.