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SKCT has identified and noted in research articles that many of the slow learning and other learning disabilities in children are often a direct result of malnutrition in early formative years. The objective of the nutrition programme is to ensure better health through better quality food and nutritional supplements.
Most of the students come to the school from poor backgrounds. The parents of these children work as daily labourers or on farms and do not manage to cook very good food. Sai Krushna Charitable Trust has tied up with the Akshayapatra Foundation to provide healthy and nutritious meals every day. However, it typically ties up with government schools only. The Trust has gone out of the way to ensure that its students also get the benefit of this nutritious mid-day meal, even though this comes at a fairly high cost per child per day, which is borne by the Trust.
Despite the regular mid-day meal, it was observed that many students would be tired and would doze off in class in the very first period of the day. Some students showed signs of weakness and found it tough to even stand erect for 5 minutes. Concentration levels were low and through research we analyzed that it could be traced to their daily food which typically comprised of Rice and Rasam (an Indian dish having some Lentils in tamarind water) only. To supplement the same, we provide vegetables to all the 350 plus students and teachers in the school with the support of Sai Analaxmi Foundation (headed by Mr V V Ranganathan). The fresh vegetables are specially cooked in the kitchen of Sai Krushna Mandir children’s home and served along with the lunch from Akshayapatra. The vegetables range from children’s favourites like ladies-finger and potato to brinjal and pumpkin, to fresh green vegetables like Spinach, cabbage, beans and even bitter gourd.
Many children first resisted the entire idea of eating vegetables. However, with systematic training and reward mechanisms the trend has now reversed. The Vegetable initiative which was started in 2016 with the support from Sai Annalaxmi Foundation founded by Mr VV Ranganathan, has now become a big hit. The students eagerly await the vegetable of the day and wastage has gone down to absolute zero.
On certain days, students are also given fruit or vegetable salads. Bananas which are an excellent source of Vitamin B12 are given to the students every second Saturday. Special sweets made of nutritious Ragi and ghee are made on festival days like Deepavali and served to all the students.