Dalai Lama donates money to fight child malnutrition

New Delhi, May 15: Tibetan religious leader the Dalai Lama has contributed around one million pounds (approx $1.6 million), part of the Templeton Award prize money, to an NGO for fighting children’s malnutrition, a statement said Tuesday.

The donation to NGO Save the Children was a major part of the award money that the Dalai Lama received along with the Templeton Award in London Monday.

“We have congratulated the Dalai Lama for receiving the Templeton Award and have thanked him for sharing a majority of the award money – around one million pounds – with us for fighting malnutrition,” said an official of the NGO.

The Dalai Lama while receiving the award Monday said: “I have always had great admiration for the work of Save the Children in improving the lives of children through better education, health care and economic opportunities as well as providing emergency aid in natural disasters, war and other conflicts.”

Save the Children India CEO Thomas Chandy said that the funds received will be used to run community-based nutrition programmes in rural areas and urban slums.

“Our focus will be on fighting malnutrition. With over 42 percent of children being underweight and 58 percent stunted by the age of two years, tackling malnutrition as a top national priority cannot wait any longer,” Chandy said.

The Templeton Award is an annual prize presented by the Templeton Foundation. Established in 1972, it is awarded to someone who “has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works”.

A fifth of Indian children under the age of five are in the severely malnourished category, and India is home to the largest number of malnourished children in the world. Malnutrition is the underlying cause of mortality in 33 percent of all deaths under the age of five, the NGO said.

IANS