Discussion Room

The life-sustaining drops – World Water Day

World water day

“Water is essential for a healthy life and environment. Replenish water bodies and make an effort to stop polluting the seas with plastic and sewage.” – Manjushree L.

“Every living organism depends on water for survival and we must save water now so it will be useful for future generations. I hope more farmers can implement sprinkler irrigation, a proven measure to reduce water wastage.” – Savitha M.

“The water cycle is an essential part of life. Water is very important for agriculture and generation of electricity. We must treat wastewater and use it for irrigation purpose.” – Bavitha K.

“Water plays a role in all aspects of life. We’re completely dependent on it. We must store and utilise rainwater for bathing and washing vessels.” – Vishwaraj V.M.

“Water is very important for building, agriculture, drinking, and general household work. Rainwater harvesting and water treatment plants can solve a lot of water issues.” – Santosh P.

These are the opinions of our future philanthropist, Manjula L.; future teachers, Savitha M. and Bhavitha K.; future singer, Vishwaraj V.M.; and future lawyer, Santosh P. They are all aware of the significance of water. But, is it possible for them to achieve their dreams without access to clean drinking water? Quite possibly not! Because, it is estimated that consumption of contaminated water takes away lives of nearly 1,000 children, each day.

Water is the quintessential element of life. It not only quenches our thirst but also affects our health and livelihood. So, what about those who have to tread miles of distances to reach a source of clean drinking water? Yes, there are more than 663 million people who do not have access to safe drinking water thereby affecting their health, growth, and progress.

Upon recommendation at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) for an international day to spread awareness about the significance of freshwater and how to conserve it, the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. Since then, it has become an annual event observed globally on March 22. Each year, this day is dedicated to a specific theme related to freshwater with the theme for 2018 being ‘Nature for Water’. This theme will focus on exploring nature-based solutions to tackle and overcome water challenges of the 21st century. Since our ecosystem has already undergone excessive damage there is a need to restore ecological balance and only nature-based measures have the potential to provide sustainable solutions for rebalancing water cycle and conserving freshwater. Backing this situation is the Sustainable Development Goal 6 that targets to ‘achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030’ while also targeting protection of water-related ecosystems and effective sanitation management. It is reported that:

Sustainable development

Mindful of this critical situation, several not-for-profit organisations have taken up water conservation as their core cause and many others have taken measures to save water in their realm of services. One such NGO belonging to the latter category is The Akshaya Patra Foundation. This Indian charitable trust works in the sector of Mid-Day Meal Scheme providing freshly cooked nutritious meals to more than 1.6 million government school children from their 34 kitchen units located in 12 states of India.

All the kitchens cook up a variety of nutrition-rich meals every day, making potable water one of the vital ingredients. To maintain hygiene standards, all the kitchens make use of RO purified water for its pre-cooking and cooking processes. Additionally, water is also required for other operational processes such as washing and cleaning of vessels, kitchens, equipment, and meal delivery vans. Being aware of the huge requirement and remaining steadfast in the hygiene and cleanliness standards Akshaya Patra has taken several steps to optimise the use of water in its realm of service. The NGO runs pilot projects in its kitchens focussing on every area of kitchen processes and upon achieving favourable results implements it in the daily operations. Some of the measures that have clearly resulted in reduced water consumption are:

Water conservation tipsIn conclusion, let’s be grateful for having the basic necessity called ‘water’ readily available to most of us. And, as our beneficiaries mentioned at the very outset let’s take tangible steps to conserve the precious drops so that everyone gets an equal share of this life-sustaining element.

For the benefit of children and environment, Akshaya Patra invites your participation in its efforts to conserve water. Share your ideas in the comments section and also spread the word in your network about the Foundation’s cause.

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Engage With Us

Volunteer to make a difference

International volunteer day

December is a good time to look back upon the year that’s gone by. This makes December 5 an apt day to be International Volunteer Day. Various volunteer institutions and individual volunteers, understanding the need for their contribution to society, have selflessly been a part of various volunteer activities throughout the year.

This reminds us of the recent floods in Gorakhpur and Gujarat, where the contribution by various volunteers has been commendable. They have helped the denizens cope with the damage caused by the disaster.

International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development, also known an International Volunteer Day (IV Day), is a great day to recall all of their contributions. It is a day dedicated by the United Nations since 1985 to give a people an opportunity to make visible contributions.

Theme this year:

The theme for 2017 – ‘Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.’ recognises volunteers as the first person available to help times of crisis. They ensure their presence around us in times of need, save lives and support people. They brave dangers to help others. They are driven by the will to make a difference to those in need of assistance. This year, the day recognises contribution of such individuals and organisations.

Why volunteering?

The contribution by volunteers help in implementing new global goals. The development can be sustainable and mobilise and engage Governments and communities. It’s not about money all the time. While the individual and community benefits from the effort put in the volunteers, it can have a lasting impact on the progress of the individual themselves.

• Wellbeing

Volunteering for a cause makes a person feel a sense of accomplishment. According to The Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteering improves psychological and physical health. It helps them build social networks.

• Resume building

Such activities help in building resume. The mention of these in your resume demonstratesthat volunteer work is also an important part of your resume. A history of volunteering activities in your resume shows your willingness to work for the betterment of the society.

• Positive parenting

Volunteer activities are important to teach children the importance of sharing and caring among children. Developing these emotions in children well in advance can make them responsible individuals.

Akshaya Patra’s role in social development

With a mission to ensure that no child in India is deprived of education due to hunger, the organisation performs a selfless task of delivering freshly-made nutritious meals to over 1.6 million children across India. The Foundation runs the largest NGO-run school lunch programme.

The meals are cooked in our 34 kitchens in 32 locations across India. The dishes are prepared in a way that the meal meets the nutritional guidelines prescribed by the Government under the Mid Day Meal Scheme. This initiative ensures that the children get nutritious meals once in a day so that they turn out to be healthy individuals.

The programme has been running successfully with support from the Central and State Governments.

Be a volunteer

The Foundation invites individuals and corporates to be a part of the cause by volunteering with us. You can either be physically present or raise funds for the cause online.

You can help the kitchen staff prepare meals by cutting vegetables. You can help in offloading the vegetables at the kitchen or help the staff in loading the trucks with cooked meals. You can serve children in school and organise some activities for children at their schools.

If time is a constraint, you can help the Foundation by sharing information about the cause on your social media networks. You can start a fundraising campaign on our website.

Volunteer with The Akshaya Patra Foundation to ensure that our future generation grows up to be healthy and well-educated.

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