Women SHGs run mid-day meal schemes in Orissa schools
School teachers in many parts of the country find the government's mid-day meal scheme a bit of a burden. For good reason it takes away
valuable teaching time. But teachers in more than 32,000 primary schools in Orissa do not have anything to complain about the mid-day meal
scheme. The scheme in these government and government-aided schools is run by women's self help groups (shgs). An impressed Orissa government plans to entrust the running of the scheme in the entire state to these women's
Pratibha Devi, headmistress of Bhubaneswar's Mamtaj Ali Upper Primary school is also amongst the admirers of the women's shgs. The school's mid-day meal scheme is operated by a Bhubaneswar-based shg, Maa Tarini. "We did have a cook and helper when teachers ran the scheme in our school.But keeping watch over them took away a lot of teaching time. We also had to keep stock of the rice and dal," she says.
Matters have changed since 2007 when Maa Tarini took over the scheme in the school. "Now we have to do nothing more than hand this women's group the day's attendance sheet, so they know the number of students for whom they have to cook," the headmistress says.
Her colleague Bhramarbar Mangraj showers more encomiums on Maa Tarini. "The quality of cooking has vastly improved since the shg took over," he says. Rajendra Das, a student of the school agrees. "Earlier I would often skip the mid-day meal because the food wasn't tasty, sometimes it was half-cooked. But since women from Maa Tarini have begun cooking, things have changed. The dalma (lentils mixed with vegetables) is delicious," he says.
|Some schools have shown 100 per cent attendance since SHGs have taken charge|
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