The breakfast scheme that we introduced in a school has attracted 30 more students there,” smiles M Balamurugan, member of RC Pearlcity Tuticorin, RID 3212.
A chance discovery that a majority of students skip breakfast made the club adopt this project two years ago. Back then, the club had conducted a blood donation camp for students in a college campus. When the nurses said that only those who had had breakfast were eligible to donate blood, “we were shocked to see that of the 40 students who had come forward to donate blood, 20 had not taken breakfast.” They were allowed to donate blood after they were served breakfast.
The club then set off to conduct similar survey on school students in the locality. And the study threw up another alarming statistic — nearly two-thirds of them came to school with an empty stomach. The reasons being poverty or both the parents were off to work at daybreak so much so they did not have the time to prepare a decent breakfast for the children. “They came to school with great anticipation, looking forward to the noon-meal being served there. This was an eye-opener and we worked out a scheme to provide breakfast for all 45 students at the S A V Primary School in the town,” says Balamurugan. Thanks to the morning meal, 30 more students have enrolled in the school in these two years.
The club is now looking for partners to extend the project to other schools. The four Rotary clubs in the town are contributing from time to time either cash or in kind. It costs about ₹1,000 to provide a day’s breakfast. “While one club member sponsors gas cylinders, a restaurant gives half-cooked pooris that we fry at our end and serve twice a week. This is the dish the children love the best,” he smiles. On other days it is idli, Pongal or a rice-mix.
“It is said that one has to have breakfast like a king, but we are happy to provide a meal that means a lot to the children and the look on their faces says it all,” he sums up.