It is said that children are the greatest asset of a nation, as they are the future of tomorrow. A country can prosper tomorrow only if its children are healthy today and for that, it is imperative to ensure the health of mothers, for only a healthy mother can beget a healthy child. Today, with India being home to about 50% of under-nourished children of the world and with an alarming rate of maternal and infant mortality, the Sri Sathya Sai Annapoorna Trust has made significant efforts in tackling this issue of malnutrition. Since the Trust’s inception in November 2015, it has provided nutritious breakfast to nearly 250,000 children in Government and aided schools. Alongside this breakfast initiative, Sai Sure which is a malt based multi-nutrient supplement was also introduced in Government Schools, complementing the Ksheerabhagya Scheme in Karnataka. This innovative and easy to prepare nutritious drink is an answer to the issue of hidden hunger, which is the lack of essential micro-nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, iron, calcium, etc.
On the morning of 31 October, 2019, a special programme was held at Vidhana Soudha, the Karnataka State Legislative Assembly building in Bangalore. The aim and objective of the programme was to undertake collective measures to end malnutrition in the country. The programme was attended by people of all walks of life, including: volunteers, doctors and health professionals, administrators and heads of institutions, politicians including several Cabinet Ministers of the State and the Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri B S Yediyurappa.
The Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka was escorted to the dais by the Sai’s Angels Brass Band from the Muddenahalli Campus and after a welcome address by Sri G B Rajashekhar, Chairman, Sri Sathya Sai Sharadaniketanam, Mandya. The programme began with an invocation prayer by children from Doddabele village who are beneficiaries of Annapoorna Programme. Thereafter Dr Satish Babu, Chairman of the Scientific Committee for Nutrition, gave an overview of the various programmes and initiatives undertaken, such as the Annapoorna Programme, the Divine Mother and Child Health Programme and the Sai Sure supplement. He outlined the impact of these initiatives since their inception and highlighted the reinforced efforts that would go into the same.
A mobile application called ‘Chirayu’ was then launched by the Honourable Chief Minister. This application will be of great help in recording the vital health parameters of the children and mothers during their health screenings and regular medical check-ups.
Thereafter the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri B S Yediyurappa launched the expansion of the Sai Sure programme across other districts of Karnataka in a phased manner, intending to cover ten lakh children by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 95th Birthday. Re-modelled versions of Sai Sure for Toddlers and Pregnant Women were also launched, catering to the needs of children aged between one and six years and also of expecting mothers.
The keynote address was thereafter delivered by the Honourable Chief Minister, Sri Yediyurappa. He applauded the efforts of Sri Sathya Sai Health and Education Trust and Sri Sathya Sai Annapoorna Trust to combat malnutrition and promised all required support by the Government to eradicate the same.
It was indeed a classic scenario of the Sarkar (Government), Samaj (society) and Sansthan (institutions) coming together to strive for societal uplift.
After this, the Annual Report of the Sri Sathya Sai Annapoorna Trust for the year 2018-2019 was presented, after which the programme concluded with the State and National Anthems being rendered by the Sai’s Angels Brass Band.