Meena is one of the children who attends a ServeNow lighthouse center. When asked what she likes most at the center, she responded by saying: I like many things here, like learning new things, action songs, getting new books. But what I like most is the food. Every day I come here hungry, and every day I go back home with a full stomach.
She is not the only one. There are hundreds of children in India who only get one daily meal or sometimes only a few times a week. At ServeNow’s lighthouse centers in the slums of Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad, we make sure that these children receive daily meals. Of course the children don’t come only for the food; they also come for the love and care they receive from the staff, for learning new things, and simply for having a fun time with the other children. There are about 100 children-at-risk who are part of our lighthouse center programs. Most of these children belong to families who live below the poverty line and who do not get to eat 3 meals a day.
Why it is important to feed these children? Because the future of an entire nation is at risk!
As a recent UNICEF report showed: 62 million children in India (about 48% of these children are under the age of 5) are stunted in their growth. This is clearly a result of malnutrition. A serious consequence of stunting is impaired cognitive development due to an underdeveloped brain which has long-lasting harmful consequences, such as diminished mental ability and learning capacity. Of all the child mortality globally, stunting and other forms of malnutrition are believed to be the main causes!
While India’s economy has been growing at an impressive rate, the country still has the highest number of stunted children in the world. According to a new report on Global Nutrition, India has even fared worse than some sub-Saharan countries.
A lack of adequate food (causing malnutrition and stunting) is a primary cause of death, but the story of child mortality and malnutrition in India is not just one of poor diets. Lack of water, sanitation and hygiene practices also lead to illnesses and life threatening diseases like diarrhea.
ServeNow’s lighthouse centers take a holistic approach, providing educational, physical and spiritual care for the children. At our centers, they not only receive education and enjoy a good meal, but they also receive health and hygiene awareness.
However, the need for help is still urgent, and we can’t do this on our own. Please join hands with ServeNow to make a difference in these children’s lives! Donate here: Children’s Lighthouse Centers.