School in Odisha to Welcome Students with Happiness Kits

With schools in Odisha set to reopen after months-long closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students in five districts of Odisha will be welcomed with ‘happiness kits’. These kits will include wheat, turmeric powder, peanuts, jaggery, chickpeas, cinnamon, cardamom, biscuits, and other nutritious food products which will act as immunity boosters. In addition to the food items, the kits will also contain pens, pencils, note pads, sanitary napkins, toothpaste, iodised salt, and soap.

This initiative passed by the state government has allowed the Akshaya Patra Foundation, which supplies mid-day meals to schools in those five districts, to distribute the kits among students. “The foundation had sought permission for distribution of happiness kits among 1.83 lakh students of 1,916 schools in five districts and the approval was given two days back”, said Samir Ranjan Dash, School and Mass Education Minister.

Nayagarh, Sundargarh, Khurda, Puri, and Cuttack are the five districts where the drive will be carried out among students of Class I to Class VIII. The initiative is supposed to kickstart from the first week of February, beginning at Balianta – a neighbourhood located on the outskirts of the state capital.

During the lockdown, the funds meant for mid-day meals were being directly deposited in the accounts of the beneficiaries by the government. However, the other part which includes funds allocated for the supply of nutritious food to students remained unutilised. This fund would now be used to provide the happiness kits to the children.

“We hope that the kits will help students stay fit and prepare them ahead of reopening of their schools”, said an official from the Akshaya Patra Foundation.

Currently, schools in Odisha have reopened partially for students of Class X and XII. As of now, no certain decision has been taken on reopening of schools for students of elementary level as well as Class IX and XI.

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