The Mid-day Meal Scheme provides poor undernourished children with freshly cooked hot meals on all school working days throughout the academic year. The number of children provided with hot meals WAS 1772 in 18 schools before covid pandemic forced schools to close for almost two academic years
The success of this Mid-Day Meal Scheme has been confirmed and appreciated by all the Principals of these schools and is very gratifying to us in the Maria Seva Sangha. The proof of this is in the regular attendance of these children at school and the improvement in their general health, studies and better immunity towards common diseases.
This programme commenced in 1987 with just 50 children in one school and our main reason for promoting this project at that point in time was to draw innocent poor children away from the streets and evil influences resulting therefrom and help children to remain at school and receive an education. This is valid even today.
The cooking and feeding arrangements are randomly monitored by our members and the feedback we receive from the schools are used to improve the overall efficiency of the system As regards cleanliness and nutrition, the same are daily supervised through the cooperation and dedicated efforts of the school staff who supervise the preparation.
The number of children provided with hot meals WAS 1772 in 18 schools before COVID pandemic forced schools to close for almost two academic years schools have just opened partially during the current academic year and currently, we are supplying funds for midday meals to 9 schools which are mainly rural schools, residential schools catering to the physically and mentally disabled children and creches /day care centres catering for children of construction workers.
The list is given below.
The effect of the school closure has been very pronounced on the rural schools rather than on the urban schools. In the rural areas most parents are either farm labourer or migrant labourers. To earn some money students in the rural areas pressured to leave school permanently and start working to supplement the family income. Therefore, the secretaries of the schools requested us to continue to provide subsidies for Mid-day meals for these rural schools and in turn they will provide raw materials (rice, dal, oil etc.,) to students on weekly basis. Besides they would encourage students to study informally by giving them unofficial tutorial classes once a week. This, they hope, will keep the children attached to the school and provide for their nutritional and educational needs. This has resulted an out flow of approximately Rs.60,000/- per month, presently.
The rural schools have repeatedly requested an increase in our subsidy for their midday meals as cost of raw materials have been steadily rising. Unfortunately, while we understand their position, we are unable to oblige them due to constraints on the amount of donations we are getting.
Due to the financial restraints of this project, we have tried raising funds via professional fund raisers but the experience has been very disappointing. The Scheme has become extremely popular and has received recognition from the Government of India in that they approved a full 100% tax exemption to donations made to this programme under Sec.35AC of the Income Tax Act. Unfortunately, this act was scrapped in 2019 and so we are allowed to give only donation certificates which are eligible for 50% tax exemption U/S 80G of the income tax act.
In conclusion therefore, we look forward towards your continued support for this project. Donations to this scheme are eligible for 50% tax exemption under sec 80G of the IT Act.
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