From Chores to Dreams
Akshaya Patra’s Mid-Day Meals
Fuel 11-Year-Old’s Aspiration to Join Indian Army
11-year-old Naveen Ehshan is an Akshaya Patra beneficiary studying in Government Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, New Delhi. He wakes up early to help his parents with chores, after which he heads to school. The mid-day meals he receives in his school, from Akshaya Patra, keep him healthy and energized throughout the day. They help him pursue his dream of becoming an army officer without compromising on education.
“I believe that being an officer in the world’s best army is the best job I could have. Being a part of the Indian Armed Forces will grant me the opportunity to serve my neighborhood, state, country and my family—all at the same time,” Naveen says.
The 11-year-old is the eldest of five siblings. His father is a tailor and the only earning member of the family. Naveen’s mother is a housewife and looks after his ailing grandmother. With financial challenges crossing their path almost everyday, he says that Akshaya Patra’s meals are a glimmer of hope. They motivate him and his siblings to go to school regularly, focus in class, lend a hand at home and go the extra mile for their goals.
“A soldier’s life is demanding as they do not live with their families. It tests their strength and pushes them past their limits. They become stronger while enjoying a sense of purpose throughout their life. They protect without complaining. No life is insignificant to them. During natural disasters, they assist us selflessly and even put their lives on the line if the need arises. Thus, I believe that being a defense personnel is the best choice for those who want to live a content life and serve their country. We can sleep peacefully today because our armed forces defend us at the border. That’s why, being a part of the Indian Army is an opportunity, not just a career option,” adds Naveen gleaming with pride.
Today, he is striving relentlessly towards his goals while also helping his parents with chores before and after school hours. The class 7 student is grateful for the NGO’s hot, nourishing and delicious meals he receives at school. The Happiness Kits that were distributed during the pandemic, are something that will hold a special place in his heart.
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