Nutritionist and founder of Mahilmadhi Iyakkam, an initiative to combat malnutrition among lower income groups, Divya Satyaraj and Poongkothai Chandrahasan, Sri Lankan Tamil activist, Founder/President of ‘Serendip Be The Change’ and granddaughter of Sri Lankan Tamil political leader the late S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, have joined hands to give more muscle to ‘The Green School, Green Revolution’, an initiative by the latter, to combat food insecurity in a sustainable manner in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. “Sri Lanka is facing a humanitarian crisis compounded by food insecurity and paucity of livelihoods, causing unimaginable suffering, especially to underprivileged children,” says Poongkothai.
Divya Satyaraj, popular Tamil actor Satyaraj’s daughter says, “Only rich children have access to good nutrition. The objective of Mahilmadhi Movement is to provide free, healthy food to poor children.”
Poongkothai’s Green initiative was launched in 2017 in three schools each in Chennai and Madurai. The project’s success inspired them to replicate this model in a pre-school in Neduntheevu in northern Sri Lanka. The highly ambitious model of Green School Green Revolution aspires to create ‘farmer-entrepreneurs’ out of school children, empowering them to not only cultivate their own organic vegetables and fruits in schools, but to also market the surplus produce. “Food security will be a global concern as climate change and global warming are today. It is important to raise a generation of children who will learn to grow their own food and value the importance of organic farming, renewable energy, water conservation, bio-diversity, recycling of water and environmental conservation, which are part of the objectives of this project,” says Poongkothai.
The duo plans to reach out to both the governments of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka to collaborate and support this initiative. Immediate plans are adopting more schools in rural Tamil Nadu, 8 schools in Neduntheevu and 15 schools in Jaffna.