Akshaya Pātra USA

Unlimited food for education

Too many of India's children are forced to choose food over education

Over the past two decades, India has experienced tremendous economic development that has brought opportunity and wealth to many.  Yet, many more struggle to provide basic necessities for their families.
Nearly 70% of Indians live on less than $2 a day[1].   There are more than 61 million malnourished children in India[2], a number that accounts for 1/3 of all the malnourished children in the world[3].
Children suffering from hunger and malnutrition experience serious, long term negative consequences on cognitive ability, social and emotional development, and motor and sensory skills. They also face a life with a greater risk of disease and early death and a much smaller chance of succeeding in school.
The desperate circumstances of poverty, especially hunger, restrict access to educational opportunities for the poorest of families. Struggling families are often forced to pull their children from school to help put food on the table. 
  • Although more than 96% of all children in India enroll in primary school only 58.3% enroll in upper primary school, with 40% dropping out[4].  
  • Of those that drop out, 60% will do so to supplement family income through domestic work[5].
  • Another 30% will drop out of school in order to take jobs to earn money[6].  


[1]"Poverty & Equity." Data. 2010. World Bank. 04 Sept. 2013 <http://povertydata.worldbank.org/poverty/country/IND.>.

[2] "42 per cent Indian kids malnourished, stunted: Report." IBNLive 10 Jan. 2012. IBNLive. 04 Sept. 2013 <http://ibnlive.in.com/news/42-per-cent-indian-kids-malnourished-stunted-report/219417-3.html>.

[3] “42 per cent Indian kids malnourished, stunted: Report.”

[4] Shin, Jennifer, Rajani Shrestha, and Karen Tietjen. USA. United States Agency for International Development. Dropout Trend Analysis: India. Washington: Creative Associate International, 2011. Web. <http://schooldropoutprevention.com/wp-content/files/reports/Trend_Analysis_India_English.pdf>.

[5] "India." School Dropout Prevention Pilot Program. United States Agency for International Development. Web. 4 Sep 2013. <http://schooldropoutprevention.com/country-data-activities/india/>.

[6] “India.”