Did it ever occur to you that hunger may also be a major factor why kids don’t go to school?

A 130-year-old institution, Madras Progressive Union Higher Secondary School in Sowcarpet, Chennai has found a novel way to deal with school dropout rates by providing free evening meals to the students so that they stay back and finish their homework.

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There is a total of 275 students in this school, and they are also being provided with noon-meals. These little changes have not only reduced the number of dropouts but have also improved the academic performances of the students.

Hunger is the main reason why students drop out and work,” said the principal of the government-aided school, M Nirmala to TOI,

She also mentioned that these students do not have the basic infrastructure to do their homework and therefore, the school authorities have decided to let the students stay in the school till 8 pm and give them food.

And not only meals. The teachers in this school have also joined hands to help the students and they contribute Rs.1,000 from their salary to the student welfare fund. After the money is collected, it is used to purchase groceries, vegetables, and other necessary items for the evening meals. Also, students get the privilege to decide on the menu. Not only meal workers, but teachers also have kitchen duties.

Most of these children come from disadvantaged background and while most of the children are first-time school-goers in their families, others are homeless.

Earlier the evening meals were given thrice a week only. However, it will be now given five days a week.