Home / News / India /  Coronavirus: Mid-day meals at homes in Kerala, children spread awareness

ERNAKULAM: "What is this?" asks a mother in a video that has gone viral in Kerala. "Meals," the child says while opening a packet.

"Who gave this to you?" she asks. "Mukhya Mantri (the chief minister)," the child replies.

The video is emblematic of how the public is lapping up Kerala's proactive measure to deliver mid-day meals at the doorstep of homes of nursery students, as the state shut down schools for the rest of March due to coronavirus scare.

Kerala has one of the most successful mid-day meals schemes in the country, partly a result of a long-running socialist philosophy at the core of its budgeting. The thought process is that the state should feed school-going children from nursery classes to seventh standard, and also as an incentive for children from an unprivileged background to attend schools.

Typically, the meals include rice, pulses, vegetables, eggs, banana and 150 ml milk twice a week. The plan to include fruits is underway. Kerala has allocated 14.6% of its expenditure on education at 20,862 crore in 2020-21.

The decision to continue with mid-day meals was taken at the special cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan decided to shut down schools.

The move has been lauded by many in the social media.

"Kerala, a state of 34m in southern India, is now home-delivering midday meals to pupils whose schools have been shut due to COVID-19. Somehow between tracing contacts, quarantining people, and slowing the spread of the virus, their Communist-led government thought of this, too," tweeted Saugato Datta, managing director of non-profit 'Ideas42' and formerly associated with The Economist magazine.

Students in Kerala who have an early vacation are also doing their bit to spread awareness about the virus. In several parts of the state, children are doing door-to-door campaign and shooting videos to spread on dos and don'ts amid the spread of the disease.

In a two-part awareness video that has gone viral, Neeraj, an LKG student at Thiruvananthapuram’s Thattathumala school, says "Ni poda corona viruse, ninak ene onum cheyan patila (Get lost you Corona virus, you can’t do anything to me)."

The video, directed by his brother Niranjan, who is a Class 8 student in the same school, showing the need to wash hands properly is packed with humour.

The video was shared by Kerala’s finance minister Thomas Isaac on Thursday with a note, “Even small children are joining in our fight against corona/."

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