PALPA, June 22: The mid-day meal program meant for the children of underprivileged and marginalized communities has proved to be effective in Ribdikot Rural Municipality-1. Earlier, most of the students especially those studying in lower grades missed their classes citing various reasons. However, this problem has been solved to a great extent, thanks to the mid-day meal program.Since the schools introduced the mid-day meal program from the new academic year, the students of Ribdikot-1, Jogithum have started attending school regularly.
Kalika Basic School (KBS) introduced the lunch program at the school from the beginning of the current academic year and this has greatly improved the attendance of the students from the marginalized Kumal community. "Most of the students here are from the underprivileged Kumal community. Their parents manage two meals a day by doing labor," said Suresh Bahadur Kumal, principal of KBS, adding, "As their parents are busy doing labor, the children get nothing to eat during day time. This is the reason why they prefer coming to school now."Even the parents have started sending their children to school after the rural municipality with the help of various organizations started providing mid-day meal to students.
"As we are busy with our work all day, our children stayed hungry at home. But now, they can have their meal at school and we don't have the rush to return home early," said Dhan Bahadur Kumal. According to him, these days they don't have to force their children to go to school.Last academic year, around 70 to 80 students attended school on a regular basis but now the number of regular students has reached 130, according to school authorities. Students are provided with varieties of lunch each day, ranging from cooked vegetables to fruits.
There are altogether 117 households in Jogithum. Of them, 112 are Kumal families while only five of them are Magar.As most of the parents here are illiterate, they hardly know the importance of education. "A lot of parents don't pressurize their children to go to school as they themselves don't know the importance of education," said ward Chief Bishnu Gaire. The rural municipality will be managing mid-day meal for the students until the end of this academic year, informed Anil Poudel, chief administrative officer of the rural municipality. "We have been spending Rs 20 per student for lunch everyday," said Poudel.