The government on Wednesday initiated a free lunch program in the government schools of Islamabad. According to the program, around 25,000 students from a hundred schools will be provided with free meals for lunch daily.
The free meals are being provided by an organization called Allahwala Trust. The federal minister of education appreciated the efforts of the organization for the school children at the inauguration ceremony. He called such institutes a beacon of life for others.
The same program was initiated in Lahore and now the government has introduced it in Islamabad. It is running under the name ‘School Khana Program.’
The education minister said that he wanted the program to be funded by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) but the budget was not sufficient to feed the number of students we have in schools. He also met with the director of UNICEF but the desired budget could not be managed. Thus, a local organization working for the welfare of people took the responsibility.
Lack of proper diet is one of the main issues Pakistani children are faced with. Parents don’t send their children to schools for multiple reasons and this is one of them. This initiative is indeed a great effort in this regard. Students will be provided with proper meals with adequate nutrition. Shafqat Mehmood inaugurated the program and served food to children. He intends to take this initiative to more schools soon.
On the occasion, he said that poverty is one of the main reasons why a lot of children are unable to go to school. He also said that in the schools he has visited, only one out of all the students at school had breakfast. He asserted that the step he has taken is only a start. They are now providing food to the children of hundred primary schools and soon it will be introduced in all the schools across Islamabad.
The question still remains unanswered why the students from ever poorer areas are not provided with the food? Or, why the initiative did not take place at the schools that are lacking in both the strength of students, due to poverty, and the resources. Though the maximum of the population in government schools is that of the lower middle class still there are a lot of people who are living below the poverty line. Such steps should be started in a gradual order and the poorest areas should be given a priority.