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Celebrate World Health Day 2019 with Akshaya Patra Children

World Health Day 2019

The predominance of nutrition crisis—covering both undernutrition and over nutrition—is a crucial pointer of a nation’s health. As India strives to achieve its social development goals, hunger is one such complex realities, which looks up for greater responsiveness.

7th April, the occasion of World Health Day presents an apt moment to review our interventions as Government, individuals, and NGOs to address India’s hunger woes.

Healthy food has a significant role to play in the holistic development and growth of children. Right nutrition at the early stages of childhood protects a child from various diseases and infections that can impede age-appropriate growth. Indeed, a healthy childhood paves the way for a healthy life. And, this is where The Akshaya Patra Foundation’s role becomes noteworthy. Alike World Health Day, which aims to provide universal health care for all, Akshaya Patra intends to give every child a healthy start to life by providing wholesome and nutrition-rich mid-day meals.

MID-DAY MEAL GUIDELINES AND OUR ADHRENECE TO IT
On 28 November 2001, The Supreme Court of India guided the State Governments to implement the Mid-Day Meal Scheme by feeding every child in every Government and Government-aided primary school with cooked mid-day meals. The minimum nutritional content of the school meals was fixed to 300 calories and 8-12 gms of protein on every school day. The specified nutritional content has since been enhanced to 450 calories and 12 gms protein for children in primary schools and 700 calories and 20 gms protein for children in upper-primary schools.

The mid-day meal guidelines also illustrate that the meals served must provide the essential micronutrients such as – iron, zinc, folic acid, vitamin A, etc., to the beneficiary children so as to ensure proper growth for them. Akshaya Patra diligently abides by every guideline while preparing the mid-day meals.

The NGO in India, Akshaya Patra also serves nutritious food to 3 to 6 years old children, pregnant women and lactating mothers in Anganwadi centres – a step to provide a healthy foundation during the critical stages of growth. Currently, we serve healthy meals to 1,61,410 children (aged 3-6 years) at 4,786 Anganwadi centres and 6,000 pregnant women and lactating mothers across 323 centres.

BEYOND IMPROVING NUTRITION                                                                                                                                          Akshaya Patra’s understanding of improving nutrition for children is not just limited to increasing access to healthy food. It also covers hygiene and cleanliness while preparing nutrition-rich meals every day. The visible improvement in health and performance of our beneficiary children in school activities are a testimony of the quality food served to them regularly.

Akshaya Patra makes it possible with the help of its 41 state-of-the-art kitchens. The food safety measures in the operations process have been recognised and appreciated across national and international platforms.

Thus, by implementing the Mid-Day Meal Programme and Anganwadi Feeding Programme, Akshaya Patra is laying a healthy and strong foundation for growing children thereby contributing to the theme of World Health Day: “Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.”

This World Health Day, we’re calling on everybody’s support to help us address the classroom hunger for young children in India. Be a Health Champion by gifting them the everlasting goodness of nutrition.

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Discussion Room

Humans of Akshaya Patra – Vrindavan Kitchen

Humans of Akshaya Patra

When most of us are fast asleep in the wee hours of the morning, there are few places bustling with energy. Each day at the strike of 4 a.m., different groups of people at different locations prepped up with safety and hygiene gears enter into huge kitchen infrastructures. Why? To prepare ‘meals of hope’ for children studying in government schools! And, so we call them the ‘Humans of Akshaya Patra.’

Meet some of our passionate members from Vrindavan kitchen in Uttar Pradesh for whom the only aim is to benefit more and more children with freshly cooked, nutritious, and hygienic meals on every school day.

Humans of Akshaya Patra

Dharampal Singh, Kitchen Supervisor – Production Department

Since when have you been working in Akshaya Patra?
I am working in Akshaya Patra since 30 June 2009.

Why did you choose to join Akshaya Patra?

I always wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. And, I knew Akshaya Patra would give me that opportunity. Hence, I chose to join Akshaya Patra.

What was life like before you joined Akshaya Patra?
Until I joined Akshaya Patra, I did not find peace and satisfaction in my job. But now life has changed totally and I feel blessed to be here in Vrindavan.

As a Kitchen Supervisor, what does your work encompass?
As a Kitchen Supervisor, my work encompasses taking case of the entire kitchen process and managing staff members. I ensure all kitchen staff mandatorily adhere to the personal hygiene standards and brief them on their respective responsibilities. I check the recipe summary sheet, raw material quality, monitor the cooking process, and taste food samples before delivery. I ensure that we always meet the ISO standards in our production process.

Why is it important that kitchen processes are in order and meals are cooked in a hygienic way?
Hygiene is an important factor, more so, when food is being cooked for school-going children. This food affects their personal growth and career development. Children are the future of our country, and we always keep their health and safety in mind while cooking food for them.

How has your life changed after joining Akshaya Patra?
My life has changed for the better after joining Akshaya Patra. It feels like a family as if all the employees here are threaded together with the idea of providing the best quality food to children punctually on every school day.
What makes working with Akshaya Patra special?

It’s a great environment to work here. Sometimes it gets hectic, but when the food gets prepared and distributed to children I feel so proud. Each day ends with the satisfaction that I was able to serve the children. I want to continuing working for children through Akshaya Patra, for the rest of my life.

Humans of Akshaya Patra

Tulsiram, Driver

Since when have you been working in Akshaya Patra?
I have been working in Akshaya Patra since last 9 years.

What was life like before you joined Akshaya Patra?

Prior to joining Akshaya Patra, I faced lot of difficult conditions and life wasn’t really great.

Describe your typical day as a driver.

The days for me are quite difficult and hectic as a driver because the roads connecting the schools are not good. The schools are very far from Akshaya Patra kitchen. But, we make to reach on time and deliver the nutritious meals to school children. Despite the hurdles faced, it fills me with a sense of positivity that I was able to deliver the meals to children.

Any specific problem you face while on your way to deliver meals.

Mostly during rainy season, the roads get damaged. And, this poses a big challenge for us when we are out for delivering meals.

Why is it important that food reaches children on time?

Food is essential for mental and physical development of children. It is also vital in helping children to pay attention in class. Hence, I feel it is very important that children receive their lunch on time. It will improve their learning thereby benefiting them and the country also.

How has your life changed after joining Akshaya Patra?

After joining Akshaya Patra I have seen a remarkable change in my life. And, most important of all, now

I know the value of time!

What makes working with Akshaya Patra special?

Alongside improving my life and routine, Akshaya Patra’s job gives me a sense of peace, satisfaction, and pride.

Well, behind every great show, there are behind-the-scenes contributors. And, at Akshaya Patra, those contributors are our very own kitchen staff. Watch out this space to meet our passionate members from across all locations of Akshaya Patra.

We would love to hear from you, so please use the below comment section to share your thoughts and feedback.

 

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