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Akshaya Patra – Powering through to realise its Mission 2020

Akshaya Patra Reach

We’re midway through 2017 and the year has been an exciting one for The Akshaya Patra Foundation so far! New beginnings, new kitchens and many more beneficiaries – the Foundation is well on its way to fulfill its mission of feeding 5 million children by 2020.

In the northeastern part of the country, Akshaya Patra expanded its reach to the state of Tripura. Our kitchen, at Kashiram Para in the Kanchanpur Sub-division of the state, is a centralised kitchen feeding a total of children. This our second kitchen in the northeastern states, the other one being in Guwahati, Assam, which feeds 47,249 children in 607 schools.

Bhavnagar kitchen

Our kitchen at Bhavnagar

We also added to our reach in Gujarat, with our kitchen at Bhavnagar – the fifth largest city in the state. This kitchen – a centralised kitchen – serves meals to 28,000 children in 57 schools in the state. The kitchen was inaugurated by Shri Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat and was set up with assistance from our donors – Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC),
Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and Gujarat Gas Ltd (GGL).

We are also in the process of significantly expanding our reach in Uttar Pradesh (UP) with the launch of 11 new kitchens. These kitchens will be set up in the cities of Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Etawah, Kannauj, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Rampur and Ballia. Currently, we have kitchens at Lucknow and Vrindavan in UP. The establishment of the 11 upcoming kitchens will take our reach in the state to 13 lakh beneficiaries from the 2,11,680 children we are currently feeding there.

The Foundation will also expand its reach in Rajasthan, with our sixth kitchen there at Bhilwara. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed for the same with Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (RECL), in the presence of Mr Harsh Baweja, Chief Project Manager of RECL Jaipur; Shri Govind Dasa, President of Akshaya Patra Rajasthan; and Shri Raghupati Dasa, Programme Coordinator – Akshaya Patra Jaipur.

Watch this video featuring Akshaya Patra’s mega kitchen to know how the Foundation prepares wholesome meals for school children every day

Akshaya Patra’ kitchens – the force behind its school lunch programme – adhere to the strictest qualities of hygiene while cooking tasty, nutritious meals. The Foundation’s expansion across India will feed the cause of ‘food of education’ through its state-of-the-art kitchens to benefit the nation’s future – its children. You can join the cause by making a donation to help ensure that no child is deprived of education due to hunger.

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God’s Own Kitchen – Author Rashmi Bansal Chronicles Akshaya Patra’s Journey

Akshaya Patra Book

A significant journey – one that inspires and restores people’s faith in all that is good in the world – always had the humblest of beginnings. Akshaya Patra’s voyage for the cause of ‘unlimited food for education’ also started in a similar fashion in the year 2000. Now, the Foundation operates the world’s largest NGO-run Mid-Day Meal Programme, nourishing over 1.6 million children across India with its mid-day meals every day. This wonderful journey is now chronicled in a book titled God’s Own Kitchen by renowned author Rashmi Bansal.

Engagingly told by Ms Bansal, the book’s narrative is conversational and free-flowing. It tells Akshaya Patra’s tale in a deeply personal manner, with insights into the minds of its founders, when the organisation was in its nascent stage. Behind the force that is Akshaya Patra lays the sweat and determination it workforce – past and present. The book introduces many key figures of the Foundation to the reader, including its current Chairman Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa; Vice Chairman Shri Chanchalapathi Dasa; Chairman, Manipal Global Education Services, TV Mohandas Pai, who has made significant contributions to the Foundation, among others.

God’s Own Kitchen is also interspersed with interesting anecdotes. The setting up of new kitchens in different locations is always a challenging task and their backstories are quite amusing. India is a vast and varied country and every region has its peculiar sociocultural norms. These presented testing obstacles when it came to recruiting and training womenfolk in socially conservative regions, law and order scares, blurring the lines of social classes among children, so that they have their meals together in school, and the like. The book also throws light on how the organisation honed its famed hygiene practices and standards.

Over the years, the organisation has found support in many noted personalities from different walks of life. These include the 42nd President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton; former President of India, the late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam; one of India’s foremost businessmen Ratan Tata. The book has exciting pictures and stories of their visits to Akshaya Patra, including a photo of a cheque of Rs 12,000 written by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam for Akshaya Patra!

Classroom hunger is a bane that needs to be destroyed immediately. As the author says in her note in the book, “Let us open our hearts, or minds and our wallets to eradicate hunger from this country. Students and CEOs, swamis and socialites – we can do this together.” The cause needs the support of a greater number of hearts and minds and what better way to chronicle Akshaya Patra’s tireless service to it, than this wonderful book!

You can buy God’s Own Kitchen here.

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