It is difficult for most government school children to get even a decent ‘rice sambar’ as part of their midday meal, but for children in the government senior primary school in Kottalagi village in Belagavi district, who have delicacies as part of their midday meal. daily meal is part of the daily routine. The school serves dosa chutney, Idli Sambar or holige, the sweet treat only prepared at festivals.
The school in Kottalagi village has more than 200 children who study in grades 1 to 7 and they enjoy coming to school; the main attraction is certainly good food and the school staff just entrenched this thought.
Afternoon meals served in government schools follow a certain pattern where the menu along with the groceries is also shared by the education department. But here is an exception.
The education department, depending on the strength, provides rice, dal, jaggery, tamarind and other groceries to each school. The staff at this school simply took full advantage of the grocery store provided.
Instead of using the rice to make just steamed rice, they made it into idli and served it with sambar. They made holige (a sweet treat prepared with maida, jaggery, and coconut) using the available ingredients. They just updated the menu and it’s a smash hit!
“We didn’t take a single item from our homes. We just used the things available more efficiently. This has increased the quality of the food and the children are more than happy,” said Appasaheba Patil, the school principal.
Children’s birthdays are celebrated with a sweet treat in the midday meal and the planting of a sapling. These are the children of peasants, day laborers and the working class. So a good meal is a big trigger for a better turnout. With several primary schools close by, it was a big job for the staff here. This change in menu has helped it in a great way.
“Holige is my favorite candy. It is prepared in our house only once during Ugadi. But we eat that together with poori, bajji and various other things at school itself. I never miss school. I’ll be waiting for the lunch bell every day,” said a happy Madesha, a 3rd grade student at the school.
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