ECS Mid-day Meal Project
Yemsenchaba is an 8th grade student at the government middle school in Noksen village. His parents are farmers and are having to support a large family.
During his primary schooling, Yemsen was studying in a private school in Tuensang town but his parents had to support his other siblings as well and could no longer afford the fees. Although heartbroken to have left his school, Yemsen continues to be a sincere student even in the village school and he enjoys the simple mid-day meal provided in his school. He is also happy as the mid-day meal saves his parents from having to spend at least one meal at home. He loves sharing the mealtime with his friends in the school and he sometimes carries home leftover food to feed his pets whenever he does not finish his meal.
When the lockdown happened Yemsen could not believe that he was still receiving mid-day meal rations despite his school being closed and was very excited to carry home the food grains, pulses, cooking oil, etc. His mother told the project that he came home rushing with glee and carrying the rations. As the schools remained closed and online classes were conducted by the teachers, he decided to attend the ECS initiated Sochum, a traditional dormitory that is functioning in his village. He believes that he took the opportunity of Sochum to clearly learn those topics which are difficult for him to learn through online classes.
The year 2020 saw a smaller number of students enrolled in the schools compared to the last two years since the school was shut down during the beginning of the year due to the ongoing pandemic. Despite the lockdown, however, the mid-day meal program did not get affected as the state department continued to provide the funds and it not only benefitted the students but also helped the families struggling due to the scarcity of food grains and other essential commodities.
During each quarter the students were provided with food grains ranging from 10 to 15 kilos of rice and other essentials such as pulses, potato, cooking oils, soap, eggs, nuts, etc for all the children enrolled in the school. The Teachers took this as an opportunity to deliver notes as well to the students whose parents did not have access to smartphones or internet connectivity. The teachers tried their best to ensure that all the children learn and successfully complete their academic year despite the pandemic.
The village church leaders, teachers, and the committee took great responsibility to disburse the grains and commodities to each and every student enrolled in the school. The committee ensured that strict Covid-19 guidelines were maintained during every disbursement by wearing masks, maintaining social distance, sanitizers, and proper handwashing with soap while entering the school premises. Though the pandemic had affected the normal day meal at school, it didn’t fail to give hope and uplift the spirit of students.