India is home to one of the largest populations in the world. With a population of 1.2 billion and counting, India is also home to a large section of undernourished people. The words ‘hunger’, ‘starvation’ and ‘malnourishment’ have become such common words in our vocabulary that even death due to the above does not make the headlines. It is shocking how immune we have become to daily reports of deprivation, nutritional deficiencies and illnesses related to lack of regular, healthy food. With reports stating a staggering 195.9 million people suffering from malnourishment and disorders related to lack of nutrition, change must be implemented now to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.
An empty stomach is fertile ground for social evils to plant themselves. The hungry are often forced to resort to petty theft and begging to fill their stomachs and children face the brunt of this dire situation. Hunger prevents them from attending school, and they remain victims of the vicious cycle of poverty.
Wishes and Blessings, a Delhi-based NGO, is determined to do its part to make a dent in this statistic. Established in 2014 by JNU alumnus Dr.Geetanjali Chopra, the NGO has more than 9 causes and 16 projects dedicated to achieving the goals set for each one of them. These focus areas include nutrition, education, skill development, relief, infrastructure and elderly care. The organisation acts as a platform for linking donors and beneficiaries, to connect those who need help to those who can help to fulfil the NGO’s overall mission of spreading smiles and making dreams come true.
Initiated in 2014, the Daily Meals Programme has one main goal- to eliminate hunger. Till date, the organisation has served over 7.15 lakh meals. Under this programme, 3 meals are served to the homeless and underprivileged on a daily basis. The meals are prepared under strict hygiene conditions keeping in mind the nutritional needs of the beneficiaries. The programme started by feeding 60 underprivileged women and children 3 hot and nutritious meals on a daily basis, and as each phase goes by, more and more underprivileged come under the umbrella of the Daily Meals Programme.
Under the current phase, 375 underprivileged men, women, children and elderly are fed hot breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Beneficiaries are healthy and have enough energy to go about their daily chores. Most importantly, the physical and mental development of children and youth is ensured through the regular supply of healthy food. Children have strong immunities and are less prone to falling ill, register better attendance at school and therefore also have improved academic performances. This is where the NGO measures its success- the children do not worry about their next meal and are able to focus on their studies, enabling them to break out of the cycle of poverty.
Meals are served in the shelters the NGO runs and supports. Donors are encouraged to serve meals to the beneficiaries, and witness the change they are bringing about right in front of their eyes. Through the simple act of providing food, socialisation of the children takes place, health and immunity is improved, proper eating etiquettes are taught and hygiene practices are inculcated. Under Phase XIV, Wishes and Blessings aims to feed 400 underprivileged men, women, children and elderly. Once the basic need of full stomachs is fulfilled, these beneficiaries can focus on larger, more long term goals and are no longer forced into petty theft and begging.
If you would like to know more about the programme, or would like to help feed the underprivileged, please visit wishesandblessings.net