At the beginning of every academic year, the Government of Puri in the state of Odisha appoints community engagement workers to identify children who have dropped out of school to try to get them back into learning - creating awareness about the importance of education amongst both parents and children.
Tanku, 11, and Sankar, 13, are two brothers who were brought back to their primary school in Bhudan Nagar. As they did not know the basics of reading and writing, teachers at the school enrolled them into the first grade. Gradually, the duo caught up with their studies, and are now thriving in the third grade.
A polio sufferer since birth, Tanku is very independent and manages on his own without help. The boys’ mother is a fish seller, and their elder brother works in a factory. Their combined salaries are just enough to provide for their family, but the Akshaya Patra school lunch allows them to save money that they would otherwise have had to spend on food.
Tanku and Sankar’s teacher shares that the boys have improved a lot in all aspects. She says; “their health and cleanliness is much better now. Akshaya Patra provides nutritious food and they look forward to it every day. This one meal has motivated them to come to school”.