Ultra Rice® is helping kids like Mahalaxmi get the essential micronutrients they need to learn and grow.
Ultra Rice for a new generation of Indian children
Mahalaxmi, an eight-year-old girl living in Hyderabad, India, loves school. She looks forward to coming to Mrs. Padma’s third-grade classroom each day, but often she arrives without eating breakfast. Without a morning meal, Mahalaxmi sometimes finds it difficult to stay awake and remain attentive to her lessons. Her dinner of rice and tomatoes the previous evening is not enough to sustain her through a day of school.
Hunger and malnutrition are common problems among the more than 180 students at the Ameerpet Government Primary School in Hyderabad. “When the kids come to school hungry, they have a hard time paying attention,” PATH nutritionist Kajali Paintal said. “They are lethargic and they don’t feel like studying. So, getting something to eat is very important for them to be able to learn and grow.”
The issue is pervasive throughout the country, where nearly half of children younger than five do not have sufficient nutrition, according to a 2002 survey by the government of India. One-fourth of the country’s residents live on less than $1 a day. They struggle to feed themselves and their families. In 2003, the government launched an ambitious daily feeding program in schools that supplies children with nutritious meals of rice and vegetables, sometimes supplemented with a cooked egg. Now, PATH is joining with the government to add an additional boost of important micronutrients, by introducing Ultra Rice®.
Ultra Rice holds enormous promise for children like Mahalaxmi and others you’ll meet in this video.
The low-cost manufactured grains of Ultra Rice mimic the look and taste of rice—but pack a power punch of iron, zinc, folic acid, and other nutrients that growing bodies need. Once blended with traditional rice, typically at a 1:100 ratio, the Ultra Rice grains are cooked as they would be customarily. Ultra Rice can even be manufactured to look like local varieties of rice and include the specific nutrients needed in a particular population. Imagine the benefit of such a product in a world where more than half the global population depends on rice as a staple food!
Thanks to India’s feeding program, a new generation of children can now count on at least one hot midday meal to fill their bellies. Ultra Rice is being served daily to 60,000 school children in Andhra Pradesh—making children like Mahalaxmi healthier and ready to learn.
Ultra Rice is a registered trademark in the United States of Bon Dente International, Inc.
Photo: PATH/Satvir Malhotra.