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The brown Pandit's brown closed. So today we have with us and then daily, and he's the executive secretary of the she said the assignable, not just that is known for its fantastic work across 17 states and three union guarantees of in depth, where they primarily deal with the issue of HONGO and they provide breakfast meals. Currently they've served up to five hundred thousand meals.
Am I right on the. Now, five hundred thousand children are being sold Monning Nutrition. OK, thank you for taking the time to do this just for the audience, could you tell us a bit about the trust and your role at the trust? Thank you. Thank you very much to the team of Brown pundits to consider the unique story of its covered and we've been doing it since last night. Yes, just to brief a bit about myself, you know, I've been kind of associated with the stuff, just a group of civil organizations since my early age.
And we were part of taking initiatives towards helping the needy families as a part of our social activity. And it so happened that while we continue doing our professional work, we used to always follow our guru's teachings. But once we set aside Obama's teachings to love all said well and also help other but never, and to an extent, wherever possible, try to serve the needy. And we've been kind of showing by the teachings. So whenever we get time, especially during the Sunday, we participate in doing this social initiatives to so provide them some food or kind of provide some hospitalisation of expenses or taking care of them in the hospitals for any of their needs and also providing clothes, going to the villages and doing grandma save.
So all these things that became a part of my personal journey. And, you know, while I was working for Carpet Giant in Bangalore, so we friends together came forward to do something unique, which kind of helped the schoolgoing children. And that's how we started this initiative called the Morning Nutrition Program for the rural school going children with all the support from the many friends which we had. And with that initiation, we did this program. In 2012, we started in a small rural village, and that's how it all began.
This is about 20 kilometers away from where I stayed. It's been so good day to be able to be identified. And we spoke with the state officials to the relevant permissions and started providing the morning musicians. So that's how it all began in a small. I mean, it's very wonderful to hear that the entire focus is still alone and provided to all. I think what I'm interested to know is that the government already does the midday news. Where does this fall in within the nutrition needs of children?
And I mean, how does it tackle the problem of hunger? Many valid question, in fact, that was my next point to also tell you that. Why exactly do we need to do this morning nutrition program? See, most of us when we go to office work just before office work, we definitely have a question. The reason being is that if you don't have the breakfast, naturally at 10:00 or 11:00 o'clock, we feel a bit hungry because we didn't have anything in the morning.
Because you can assume that after your last night meal, which is at about nine o'clock, then you have to keep yourself without anything in sight for the next 16 hours, which means the next meal for you is the morning at about 9:00 or 10:00. So you can assume 12 to 13 hours of nothing is there in your stomach. So naturally, energy is needed for the body to reenergize and cooperate. So that's how we have our big plus. And we go to office and the.
That's that's the perspective from a working professional like me. But if you go back and see many of these children, especially from rural backgrounds, they do not have a definition as such, like they should have something in the breakfast that they should have something like a breakfast in the morning. Many of these rural children definitely come from below poverty backgrounds, so all they know is to have the mentality which comes in the afternoon at 1:00. To the school, but unfortunately, there is no question that naturally they'll have four.
And conditions, their academic performance would be definitely low, and in many cases there are higher dropouts because somewhere at home there are a lot of financial constraints which they might be experiencing. So considering all these things, it is very unique to tell you that we started this program as an experiment to see if this will really run through, like what you asked me about why should we do this request? But when we started this program, you know, we could see the entire.
Children from that particular school came on time. That was the biggest advantage because children coming on time to school punctuality, maintenance was generally not available during those times. They were not on time to the school. But the moment you provide this breakfast, you find them coming on time. That was the first important thing. And the teachers are surprised to see how these children are coming even before the teachers can come. Then naturally, when you are getting a good breakfast, the health condition of the child increases.
The academic performance increases. And the chances to complete the schooling also with us and once you complete your schooling, you know, you become a definite productive member of the society in the future. So it will also help in a long wait for the child in making a good living by studying. So there are a lot of advantages that we have identified. We have reached us. We should start taking feedback from the teachers and teachers also understood that many of them have not actually realized that breakfast has such a very big impact in a child's growth.
And that's how we know it become very unique to us to continue doing this program. It's a unique case because most of us spend our time in doing an afternoon meal program to the needy or the evening dinner program for the needy. But maybe we could not focus more on the school going children, especially when they go to school in the morning, because teachers have expressed that whenever they come to the school, they know that some of them did not have breakfast and somehow, unfortunately, they have to teach to empty stomachs.
Now, what has happened is that this whole initiative, children are being kind of provided breakfast. And psychologically, teachers are also extremely happy that the child had something. And now the teacher can actually focus on his or her profession, which is to kind of teachable so that they can understand and extremely, extremely active to concentration was there once the children had their breakfast. So this kind of feedback helped us to make this program as a very unique thing and make it a part of the school itinerary as well.
And slowly, slowly, we started expanding it to other nearby villages. And that's where we are today. Something for close to 6000 government schools across 17 states. And long story short, it has been a very, very enduring effect on many volunteers like us. We've been also very happy because just before we could start to office, we were able to do something good for the child and just not on a weekly basis, on a daily basis within the school.
So the breakfast of your own breakfast over there. And then from there, you go to your office and you continue your day. So it's a good beginning to the day as well. That I mean, it does sound really fantastic that you are looking at increasing educational outcomes and just the general well-being of the child with a single Minardi. So how do you how do you scale, considering that it seems like it's a very volunteer driven model, as well as tying up with government schools in terms of process?
How how did you move from a small one village to so many numbers? If I can compare this with the simple analogy, you know, assuming that just like even me, by the end of the month, we go to stores and we pick up all the food grains which are required for the next month. And then, you know, we get those items to go home and we prepare the food which is required for us for the next one month.
So a similar model was actually kind of thought of what we thought is we will do complete one month duration for that particular school and we will give it to the cook who is individually preparing the midday meals for the children, the maintenance cook who is preparing for the children to take the ownership of preparing their morning breakfast. So we have various menus. We speak to the teachers and we speak to the children. And based on the local ballot, based on the local issues, we provide various menu items every day.
One different item one day would be a nice, but second date would be to party. Today it is like another race item for today to be to do six potatoes. So what happens is you bring in variety into the whole breakfast program and children, you know, getting that kind of good breakfast before they attend to the classes. So with respect to the scale at which we were able to achieve in a short span, the focus was not on trying to get more stakeholders join us.
So in our case, it was just not volunteers who are the larger stakeholders. But on the other side, we had the cooks from the local village communities and we also had the support from the village heads. We also got the support from the teachers and we also had the kitchen infrastructure in place. We didn't want to invest on getting large kitchens built up, but use the infrastructure in place at the schools with all these available for us, it was easy for us to start at many other schools as well.
So we had all we had to do was just do this one month addition radiation to the schools, good quality and radiation items, and also provide a bit of honorarium to the folks who are preparing the breakfast for the children. And that's how, you know, when we started in 2012, the first two years, we took a lot of time to understand, you know, how does the whole process work? What are the norms, what are the pros and cons?
How do we talk to the villagers? How do we talk to the village community to come and join us? So two years of learning helped us to kind of formally establish ourselves in 2015. And we kind of started. Expanding a program by forming the trust, the trust was formed in 2015, it's under the divine guidance of such a mother. We call it test series. This I do not trust and we have been. And of expanding our program.
The government of Telangana put the city under British, and now we are slowly moving towards the northern parts of India. So that way, if you see the first three years of whatever we experienced by doing it, only three to four schools helped us to scale it at a faster pace. From 2015 onwards, 2015, we we ended up doing 120 schools and put on 16. We be doing for three hundred schools. Then to turn 17, we added another 300 schools.
So we continued getting the right support from the local volunteers, teachers and also the local government officials. And as we speak today, we have touched about 6000 schools across 17 states and three territories. That's phenomenal. But how you dealing with all of this and go ahead, because if. If a lot of it off of the work that's being done relies on the children coming to school. How did you manage during the lockdown and now that, you know, the distribution systems have been really affected because of mobility?
You know, one thing which I would say that covid us, such as put our services on hold because children are not coming to school. Schools are not open till the time the government gives an official notice when to open the schools. So but the good part is because of our logistics mechanism we have in place, because we have a nominated volunteer who is in charge of a particular school in the village. So and we are individuals in touch through technology.
We use zoom calls, we use WhatsApp, we get to know the best from the team members. And nowadays everything is online, you know. So what we do is very uniquely every village we have identified children and their families who are affected, whose livelihoods are dependent. And we picked up every school, a set of three to four families of 10 families. Then what we did is we provided one monetization item every month. We are doing this in the time the schools start again.
So we are the beneficiary. Earlier was only the time, but post a lot on. You know, we have also started kind of supporting the family as well and that we supported providing this duration and also sanitizers masks all the necessary equipment needed to keep yourself clean. Over fifty thousand deserving families. And we still get requests coming to our website, people being on our website, and they put the request and we don't request. We immediately respond by providing the necessary items.
And the good part is that we engage with the local business accommodation provider, basically the general stores, which is there in the village community. And we talk to them and they will kind of ability to win our trust and we make the payment online. And the payment is online at the village head because of the food grains Paxford grains, and he hands it over to the families. And that's so we have been kind of taking up, you know, working with many of the families even during these tough situations.
That's great to know that, I mean, those many people are not going to be because the trust is working towards it. So how do you see the organization moving forward? Because you started off with nutrition and you moved into other aspects and now the beneficiaries have moved children to their families. I mean, and you're looking at creating a new kind of model that targets all the issues of an entire community because you also provide safe drinking water and training.
So what's the plan? Actually, the intent was always to address holistically the requirements of for village, so breakfast program is just a small part of the overall planning which we had. So what we have focused on is nutrition education, health care, water and sanitation. So whichever school we went to, we just started with this simple breakfast program to get the buy in from the teachers, local village community, kids and the families and the children. So naturally, it's a process that takes at least a year's time to settle yourself in a village.
And the government is also supporting the villagers with the various schemes of all was said and done. There are certain aspects which wherever there are gaps which we can fill up, we are trying to fill it up. For example, it could be in a school where a child kind of is not keeping well very often or to a set of children do not have proper eyesight or whatever. So what we did is we brought in doctors to screen the children and then they identified children who are having some issues.
And these people with spectacles, the children, we provide clean drinking water, water purifiers in the schools. And then we also ensure the bathrooms, which the children use are clean and tidy. We pay some extra money to the local areas who actually take care of the bathrooms, etc., so that they do not get any diseases at bay kind of using those toilets. So likewise, if you see a model that is created in the school bus to start with and then slowly, you know, naturally you find the parents coming and approaching those and they also have certain challenges, some issues with their health.
So we extend the services to the villages and then we also provide clean drinking water whenever it is needed. Some of the villages are very high, added places with water, contaminated with fluoride, etc.. So what we understood is we can probably set up a drinking water plant and we have invested since setting up not drinking water plants, which will help the village to get there so that we have set up to quantify drinking water plants in this particular pool district itself, which is helping many of them have proper drinking water.
So one meeting that first was conducted and then it led to water and sanitation and finally education as well, because since we are trying to address the needs of many of these children, we also get to know the kind of educational sponsorship which we can do for them sometime later. So we know from the teachers that a set of children would have to study so we can sponsor the education. It would be nice. And that's how we bring in some sort of support for the child and also provide some sets, training for children who are not that good at the studies, but they are good at some sort of missionary learning or would be some fools learning, some carpentry, some electrical related study, etc.
So we invest in giving them the training and show them the likelihood later on. So as I told you, again, a holistic approach is what we take for the other programs don't concern ourselves to vacation. We take a vacation as a start, but we end up doing other parts as we progress. And end of the day, what happens is the village gets connected to us another day. And that's what the families also get connected to, is in a larger way.
And we definitely know if I go to a particular village, I know who are those needy families who need our support. And that's how we continue doing our work. Thank you. I mean, it's fascinating to see how how you started off with something essential and then moving across the community, but when you did start off with the diamond, did you or experience or have you heard stories of where God has created the conditions in the program, reaching its potential because for the cost of breaking the twined in India?
And how has that and if it has, how is it affected any kind of programming? Actually speaking, not really, we did we didn't find any challenges there. Let me give you a perspective. If a school had about 100 children and the breakfast program is kind of very much organized on there, you know, the children were having breakfast at home. They needed to have breakfast and come to this, OK? The only the children who generally do not tend to have any breakfast at home, they come to school with an empty stomach.
So let's say there are one hundred children and there are 40 to 50 children who do not have requested from the school. What we do is we prepare for 16 children. So what happens when you prepare for 60 children, though? We have calculated but only 40 or 45. The other 15 is Jindalee. There's a tendency that even if the child had a big pool, he still wants to come and just be with his friends and wants to have breakfast with them as well.
So we understand the emotions of the children and we just go with the flow and we provide the breakfast. But we don't generally differentiate the individuals at breakfast. So you don't you're not supposed to have over here. So that is not our concept. And we come to know the number from the teachers and the other parties. The teachers themselves have the big list at the school, and that is also helping them a lot in saving their time for cooking at home and then coming over here.
So the ways we never found a differentiation factor as such. You know, if you think that the villages are still like that, I would say no. I would say definitely not in schools at least because schools are places where everybody is common. And we kind of thought the right lessons and the teachers are even more the kind of very conducive to giving them that empathy and low and taking the extra responsibility to take care of a child's nutrition, also just not education.
So I don't think so. We have faced any such challenges from from the education standpoint.
And and do you think it would have been different if a lot more of your work was targeting the urban poor and other than rural parks, or do you think they would all change based on your experiences? So it's a valid, as I told you earlier, that I was always taking Banuelos for 15 years before moving to a place like Blackpool, which is still not a city which we can talk about as a grown up city or whatever. So it's like you have the basic amenities over here and you can continue living over here.
So the natural question is, why did you shoot to see what our goal was always to address the needs of the children who desperately need some support for their daily lives. For example, many of these children from the rural villages are the ones who do not have the right nutrition in their bodies. And the health portion of these children is very much not at par with what is expected to go towards the north, the capital, that the demand is even more higher on the higher side.
So we always had this goal. Let's not look at urban poor because for some reason or the other, yes, urban poor also needs to be addressed. But if you take a geography of hundreds of people, you are going to watch this. And there are, let's say, 20 or 30 children who are deserving. Whereas if you go to the rural poor or 270 to 80 workers, so the deconcentrating the level of disabilities is more towards the rural.
And that's the reason why we wanted to focus more on the rural side. And that is one second is we are not dealing just with the nutritional situation that has a lot of need, which we also are planning to look at. And while you might get a good drinking water in a place where the people still continue drinking the water, the thing which you're making, the changes that and the water is kind of boil a bit of cleanliness aspect. If you don't tell the children, then they will end up getting some diseases or whatever.
So understanding the health hygiene as a critical element for a child, understanding that bringing that aspect into the child's mind at a very young age is what our motto was. And you find this mostly in the rural and urban sector. So that helps us to put our extra efforts towards the rural communities. And if you go back and see our website. Focus is also on uplifting transformation, and that's the reason why we have driven ourselves towards this rural villages, I believe, but being in close to fifteen hundred schools, government schools in this district, so it gives you much responsibility or much accessibility to all the schools by setting myself up rather than being in Bangalore, because I kind of travel because I need to do to improve will be too high.
And moreover, by being in the village and really being in the village community to understand that much better, because you also go through the same challenges and you can address it just by not by yourself, but also for the village. So if anybody was listening to this broadcast wants to contribute to the trust or be involved in some way, what would you like to say this to them? It's one thing which we were very, kind of very clear in our attitude to many of the people that the breakfast program, which we do, the village transformation program or the village improvement program, which we do, these are all some sort of inert responsibilities of many of us who are working for various corporate companies, are making a living in an urban setting.
So it's more to do with the people's movement where, you know, we wanted more people to come and join us in this effort. So that's the message which we have for people who are listening. It's not about, you know, we are serving this request for this child and this is the cost of the breakfast for the child and the head of the bank account details. And we wish you to join and get the child's yearly breakfast. We would we would we would rather take that as the second or the third item in our list of priorities.
But the first Myrtie has always been. Definitely to see if they can help us in this whole initiative. Now you might ask, how can I help you in this initiative? Because I have a living. I have to go to office. I need to work all day. I would not be able to spend time just like you people are doing. But I would say it's not that we have to take any other time. You know, we need maybe one or two hours of your time.
And that's all in the morning time, which is definitely an available time for most of us. Any time between six a.m. to eight a.m., we can definitely make some time to pick up some initiative. That is number one. Now, the second is we are not asking a set of volunteers who want you to join us to come and participate whenever we have a centers. That is not the idea. If wherever you're staying in, let's say you're staying in Bangalore and you're staying in a place like us, and from there maybe if you can just do a bit of research, you will definitely find one or two government schools to serve.
Now, in that place, you can go and visit the teacher and speak to the teacher and understand if the children are coming with a proper nutrition or if they need any water facility or some sanitation needs, etc.. So all you need to do is do that one exercise in the first. And then if you know there is a meet over there, you can approach other people, not just from an entrepreneur, definitely support financially. So you can approach and you can tell us how you end up with nothing.
I visited this particular school and there's a new over here will be taking up this. Welcome to suspend of people who would love to love taking these initiatives, and if you are saying you need the financial support to come forward, to take the financial view, the financial support as well, so the opportunities are going to have so many opportunities available for us. It's just that, you know, our narrator is never going to ask for funds donations. Definitely not.
We always want to see to it that people come and join hands and do something good for the society. But again, having said that, sometimes people may not get time. People say I am very inspired with a group of people who are doing this work for close to 700 volunteers we have in our system. A lot of companies have joined our hands because there are many of these volunteers looking for larger businesses. So they could not take some time to come up and serve the children or, you know, take part in any of these initiatives.
Yes, of course. Then they come back and say, we would love to contributing something. And then we have a website and the people can go with there be they can whatever makes it convenient for them, they can take up the right action and come forward to help us. So the message is very clear. Join us, join us as a team together and try to help our society. Thank you. I and this has been a wonderful conversation just for anybody who's listening and you can buy an Apple, Nasdaq or Dorkin for the website and you find more details and you can write to Arnold or anybody else on the official email idee.
And as you said, they're looking for as many people to come and join to make this world a better place. Thank you for your time, Arnold. And we hope that you expand to even more states and provide holistic upliftment for even more people. Thank you. Thank you very much and I'm very honored to be a part of this wonderful conversation and I look forward to guidance. Any feedback from your team as well? We are always ready to take such feedback from you.
Appreciate it. And thank you very much. Thank you so much.
Tune in next week for Brown Cast.