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S.S. Rajamouli Supports Akshaya Patra’s #iShareMyLunch Campaign

I Share My Lunch

Do you remember the good old school days when you shared lunch with your friends? Well, The Akshaya Patra Foundation brings you an opportunity to feel the same joy sharing lunch with its recently launched #iShareMyLunch campaign. This campaign gives you and all of us a chance to share our lunch with a school child for one entire school year by contributing just Rs. 950.

S.S. Rajamouli, the famed Director of the award winning Indian film Baahubali has already supported #iShareMyLunch campaign by sharing his lunch with 2,500 children for an entire year.

Rajamouli tweet - isharemylunch

School lunch is an important aspect of education. It positively impacts the health, concentration levels, and enthusiasm among children to actively participate in school activities. Studies have also indicated that school lunch has significantly increased school enrolment and reduced drop-out rate. School lunch also acts as an incentive for families from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds to send their children to school. More so, school meals instil confidence and determination among children that they will certainly be able to achieve their goals and dreams.

It’s time we all share our lunch with budding hearts. Click here to share your lunch! Akshaya Patra will use your contribution to provide nutritious, freshly cooked, tasty meals to school children for an entire year.

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Our Hope This World Hunger Day!

Hunger_day_banner

This World Hunger Day, here’s what we truly hope – win over hunger and all forms of hunger! As a NGO involved in providing mid-day meals to school children, we are not only targeting at eliminating classroom hunger, but we are aiming at enriching children with nutrition-rich meals – the only way to tackle hunger, hidden hunger, and malnutrition.

World-hunger-day

 

Facts and figures based on FAO, WFP, Global Hunger Index, Livemint, and The Wire

Childhood is a memoir of sweet recollections. It kindles in one, inestimable joy that lives forever in our hearts. It plays a pivotal role in an individual’s development and how they grow up as social beings. If there is something called a ‘complete’ childhood, then it should comprise of innocence, enjoyment and self exploration. But most of all, it should comprise of food in plenty, a school to study and friends to have a sense of belongingness. These serve as the perfect ingredients for a happy and much desired childhood!

Now the begged question, why food?

Firstly, because it keeps the child alive! Secondly, “hunger makes a thief of any man” and finally, it prevents them from attending school. Hunger forces them into labour, depriving them of education, their right as defined by The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).  Above all, it stands between them and their classrooms.

Second important question, why school?

School is children’s second home. It is their seat of education. Education builds a strong foundation in children’s lives. It helps break chains of poverty that is inextricably linked to their future, their empowerment, their economic growth.  Education offers them a ticket to their dreams which are as diverse as stars of the constellation.

Third, why sense of belongingness?

Belongingness because, it is a child’s inherent, intrinsic desire to belong. The child desires to be an element of something important, something fascinating, and larger than selves. That sense of belongingness comes from a friend that the school helps in finding. After all, what is childhood without the sweet bonds of friendship? It is impossible to fathom the joy children feel amidst their friends. For them, it is the perfect feeling to know that they have precisely the right person/people around to live their childhood. Be it lunch time or school itself, nothing is complete without that friend!

Why are we saying all this to you?

We say so, because we at Akshaya Patra believe in the maxim, ‘feed the children’. Why we believe so, because that is our only answer to the question, ‘how to end world hunger?’ Our wholesome, lip-smacking mid-day meals attract millions to their school doors. The very thought of a meal is enough motivation for our beneficiaries to attend school, receive education, cultivate friendship and say bye-bye to classroom hunger.

Hence, this World Hunger Day, let’s celebrate childhood through our meals. Let’s feed the children in need who have every right to a healthy childhood. Let’s all come together as a community and endeavour to find ways on how to end world hunger. We should do so with utmost priority because every hungry child must be fed and education should be accessible to every child. Hunger must not be a threat to childhood because only when there will be no hungry bellies, childhood will be complete and lessons will be read in unison!

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Giving Every Dream A Chance!

Giving every dream a chance

The Conviction

Every child has a dream; each dream is valid – for their dreams, thoughts, and aspirations make these children what they are.

Giving Every Dream A Chance

In an effort to provide overall development for its beneficiaries, The Akshaya Patra Foundation launched ‘Giving Every Dream A Chance’ – an initiative to nurture the unique aspirations of children. It is the Foundation’s attempt to identify children with special dreams and give them the opportunity to realise their dreams by providing mentorship programmes wherein children will be coached, groomed, and guided by the experts of respective fields.

A Flashback

‘Giving Every Dream A Chance’ was launched on 11 June 2016 at the Vivanta by Taj, Bengaluru, by Chief Guest, Mrs. Sudha Murty – Chairperson, Infosys Foundation and a benevolent supporter of Akshaya Patra.

Beneficiaries

In Chapter 1 of the initiative, three beneficiaries: Shivu, Manjula, and Shekar were given necessary mentorship and training through professionals in the field of their choice.

• Shivu with the aim to become an astronaut received an in-depth insight and understanding of the celestial world under the guidance of Ms. Preethi Krishnamurthy, Senior Research Fellow in Astrophysics.
• Manjula, a budding actress, received a thorough professional training in theatre and acting at the Bangalore School of Speech and Drama under the guidance of Dr. Zulfia Shaikh.
• Shekar a chef in the making, got an opportunity to hone his culinary skills at The Taj Vivanta, Bengaluru under the guidance of Chef Ramasamy Selvarju.

The Present

The success and goodwill received for the initiative in Chapter 1 motivated Akshaya Patra to script Chapter 2.

Talents

In the year 2017, 300 children from 15 Government Schools in Bengaluru, Hubballi, Hyderabad, and Vrindavan were mentored in their respective field of interest. These children received training in various fields, with the support of professionals and specific academies such as:

• Sri Raksha Natya Kala Academy for classical dance
• Just for Kicks & Team were the coaches for football goals of children
• Art& Design Studio for origami
• Vivanta by Taj for culinary workshop
• Spektrum Dance Studio for freestyle
• High Heels for contemporary
• Mr. Mahesh, a professional theatre artist for a well-written play on cleanliness

On 14 April 2018, an event was organised to showcase the talents of the children at The Taj Vivanta, Yeswantpur, Bengaluru. The stage was enlivened by a variety of performances ranging from vocal and instrumental music, folk and contemporary dances, theatre acts, on-stage origami creations, and remarkable display of math talent. All the performances received reverberating applauses and praises from the guests and audiences. Aside from the performances of beneficiary children, the audience witnessed enthralling performances of Vaishnav Girish – participant of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs and Indian Idol Junior, and Anjana Padmanabhan – First Indian Idol Junior Winner.

The event came to a close with the launch of the mascot ‘Sunny’ and the two child characters ‘Bhoomi’ and ‘Akash’ representing “Swachh Vidyarthi, Swachh Vidyalaya, Swachh Gruha” – an initiative by Akshaya Patra to achieve Swachh Bharat.

Guests and Dignitaries

The ‘Giving Every Dream A Chance’ Event on 14 April 2018 at The Taj Vivanta was graced by select guests and dignitaries from various spheres of profession and talent.

Celebrities

Director of CBI, Special Director General CRPF Screenwriter was the Chief Guest for the evening.

– Padma Shri Honoree Shri D. R. Kaarthikeyan, Advisor- Law Human Rights – Corporate Affairs and         former Director General of National Human Rights Commission
– Mr. Roberto Narain – Head of Drumjam
– Mrs. Vasundhara Das – Singer, Actress, Composer, Lyricist, Entrepreneur and Environmental Activist
– Mrs. Mayuri Upadhya – Co-Founder and Director of Nritarutya Dance
– Arjun Halappa – Former Captain of the Indian Hockey Team.

The event was studded with prominent stars from the film and entertainment industry namely Suraj Gowda, Meghna Gaonkar, Dhananjay, Shruti Hariharan, Samyuktha Hegde, Vashista N Simha, Sonu Gowda, Ragini Dwivedi, Navdeep, Naveen, Arun Sagar, and Rajshri Ponnappa.

The event was presided by Shri Madhu Pandit Dasa – Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation in the presence of Shri Chanchalapati Dasa – Vice Chairman, The Akshaya Patra Foundation, and the Unit Presidents of Akshaya Patra kitchens from across the country.

Guests Speak

Rajshri Ponnappa – “I am really honoured to get this chance to be a part of this platform, this opportunity that they (Akshaya Patra) are giving these children. Everybody deserves to dream and every dream deserves a chance. And, I think everybody coming here to support this, is fantastic.”

Roberto Narain – “My very reason to be here is – it’s very easy to talk but very difficult to do. So, the more you give the kids to go out and do things, we get the change we need.” When asked to define Akshaya Patra in three words, Narain said, I would rather define it in one word, that is ‘Dream’, and that’s the future.”

Vasundhara Das – Opining that the song ‘Any dream will do” rightly fits the initiative, she added, “It doesn’t matter what the dream is, what matters is how you go about getting there. And, a chance to follow your dream is the most precious thing in the world.”

Mayuri Upadhya – It’s truly an honour to be associated and be a part of such an event, such a beautiful initiative. And, Akshaya Patra definitely is doing a fantastic job. I have seen the documentaries on Akshaya Patra’s process of working in The Great Kitchens series, and they are right from the grass root level. I think every child is so different, every child is gifted with a very different intelligence whether it’s with art or sports. And, what we should do as a society and as an initiative is to create the best and suitable environment for it to flourish and blossom. And, that is being held and Akshaya Patra has taken the forefront in it.” She also acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of the mentors in guiding and coaching the children.

Samyuktha Hegde – “After seeing all of them (children) today, I am really glad and happy that our country is growing towards the idea of not just becoming engineers and doctors, but everything else that a child wants to be. I am glad to be a part of this.”

Arun Sagar – “If there’s innocence, we are all children. This was a really good act. I really liked it. Children’s performance was superb. What’s truly exciting to me is, I learn more when I work with children. It feels like I’m with God. For the organisation that is involved in this initiative must provide opportunities to all the children and also encourage them.”

For the complete video of the event, follow us on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/akshayapatra

The Journey Will Continue…
Akshaya Patra is looking forward to scaling up this initiative to transform lives of 5000 beneficiary children in the year 2018-19.

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

Read more about the event at Giving Every Dream A Chance 2018.

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Let the happy faces of the children light up your day

Happy Diwali

The festival of lights brings joy to all our lives. It is a joyous celebration of victory of good over evil. It is the time for togetherness and bonding as we meet our near and dear ones.The festival of lights brings joy to all our lives. It is a joyous celebration of victory of good over evil. It is the time for togetherness and bonding as we meet our near and dear ones.

But how about adding more value to the festive celebrations this year? You can do that in many ways. Involving social cause in this year’s celebration is one of the many ways you can make it memorable.
Different ways to do it:

1. Sponsor a child: Diwali celebration need not be just a day’s affair. You can make the entire year special for yourself by sponsoring a child’s meal for one entire year. It takes just Rs 950. With this, one child in a Government or Government-aided school will receive a wholesome school lunch for one entire year. This will help them stay focused in school and aspire to reach heights.

2. Teach children the importance of sharing: We all have heard the saying ‘sharing is caring’. But these values must be inculcated in children during their childhood. This Diwali can be a great way of teaching your children the importance of sharing. Make online donation to an NGO and set examples for them. You can make online donation to Akshaya Patra too. You will also get the benefit of tax exemption under Section 80G of Income Tax Act.

3. Start an online fundraising campaign: This Diwali, you can start a fundraising campaign on our website. All you have to do is think of an innovative idea which will make your friends and family support you in the cause of feeding the children. Once the campaign goes live, share it on your social networking platforms with a powerful message. The money raised through this will be used to feed the children in Government and Government-aided schools across India.

About 39% of the total population in India constitute of children. They are the driving force behind the success of our nation. Let us, empower them to ensure that our nation is in safe hands. Be a part of our movement. Support us. Donate today.

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Fighting Financial Instability, Hemalatha Dreams of Empowering Others Like Her

Hemalatha and her friends

Hemalatha watches her mother toil seven days a week to meet ends and that’s what inspires her to uplift vulnerable children on streets. She tells us that children do not need our sympathy, but empathy, which would transform their lives. She says, “I would like to tutor children living on the streets. To uplift them, education is an important factor.” The aspiring social worker makes us feel proud, as we learn more about her ambition. We met Hemalatha at Government Lower Primary School, Hosur Meenakunte. She is a 10-year-old girl studying in Std V. She hails from Andhra Pradesh; her parents moved to Karnataka in search of better job opportunities.

As she grows up, she aspires to educate children on the street. She knows that her situation is not much different from theirs but feels glad to be exposed to education. “Some of these children do not have the privileged of attending school. I want to empower them so that they are not left vulnerable.” At a young age, she understands how education has been benefitting her and the need for it to lead a respectable life.

The Lingering Pain

Hemalatha in pain

While talking to her, we noticed the girl to be a little hesitant to talk about her family. But later she told us that her family, which once consisted of four members, is now has only three. Her father – Mr Muniraj – succumbed to an accident when she was six years old and studying in Std I. Tears welled up in her eyes when she remembered her father; she was inconsolable then. The little girl hasn’t recovered from the trauma. She now lives with her mother and brother.

As her father was the only earning member of the family, her mother Savita had to take up all the responsibilities after his death. She works as a full-time house help. The meagre income she earns is not sufficient to support a family of three and she works on Sunday too, with a hope to earn some extra money. Her brother is also a student of Std VII in a Government school and benefits from the school lunch served by Akshaya Patra.

But all this doesn’t deter this ambitious child from having big aspirations for the betterment of society. There is yet another hurdle she has to overcome before she reaches her goal – the hurdle of being married once she turns 14. “My mother is planning to make me discontinue my studies after I turn 14 and get me married. She is concerned about my safety. If my father was alive, I would not have faced such a situation,” she tells us, as tears roll down her eyes.

Our heart melted and all we could see in her eyes was the hunger to achieve her ambition. She dreams of a bright future, but is worried that marriage would not allow her to achieve it.

A hard-working student

Hemalatha makes it a point to revise the lessons taught in school every evening. Though she doesn’t have anyone to guide her, she ensures that she approaches her teachers and clarifies doubts the next day. Apart from helping society, she also wants to help her mother, who works hard all day long. “My favourite subject is Science. I like to study all subjects, but I have a keen interest in learning Science. I ensure that I have understood the lessons well,” she says. Her favourite teacher is Regina Miss as she teaches Maths and English in a unique way, to ensure her students understand the concepts.

The nutritious morsel

As Hemalatha’s mother goes to work early in the morning, the siblings rely on a school lunch served by Akshaya Patra. “My mother is happy that we get a glass of milk in the morning and nutritious mid-day meals in the afternoon.”

For children like them, mid-day meals are the only wholesome meals they get to eat in the day. In fact, the meals also encourage them to attend school regularly and continue their studies. The nutritious meals give them the power to learn and dream high.

This makes it necessary for NGOs like Akshaya Patra to serve food regularly to these children to ensure that they take the country towards positive development.

Help the children like Hemalatha to achieve their dreams by supporting Akshaya Patra to feed the children.

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Teacher’s Day: Innovative learning, nutritious food helps children grasp lessons better

Happy-Teaches-Day-2017

It is believed that teachers play an important role in moulding students into responsible citizens. Their contribution to students’ development in their formative years can’t be understated. While some make an extra effort to make a child understand lessons, others enrich us with their life experiences.

As the teachers deepen a student’s knowledge with lessons in classrooms, Akshaya Patra has been empowering them with its school lunch programme. We aim at ensuring that no child chooses work over studies due to hunger. The programme was started in 2000, and since then, has had an impact on the lives of many students. As we speak to the teachers of our beneficiaries, this is what we got to hear:

Kusuma: The teacher who prioritised over her dream of studying medicine

At Government Upper Primary School, GoriPalya, Bengaluru, we conduct classes in the morning and noon, to accommodate students whose parents expect them to work in the second half of the day. I aim at promoting not just academics, but also other activities that help in overall child development.

I wanted to study medicine, but at 21, I began teaching Hindi at an educational institution. I realised I was passionate towards teaching. I passed the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KES) examination in 1997 and since then I have been associated with government schools.

I want children to be educated, secure their life with employment, and more importantly, become good citizens of the country.

G Ranganath: The teacher who found lessons beyond books

Teaching methodologies should evolve with time.The children in Government High School, Policy Colony, Karnataka, grasp better when the lessons are is conveyed through the audio-visual medium. It also makes the learning experience enjoyable. My initiative of using the audio-visual medium in school is loved by children. They make sure to never miss it.”

The government, by partnering with organisations like Akshaya Patra, has ensured that children receive a tasty and nutritious meal. The programme has been successful in reducing child labour and improving school enrolment and attendance.

Babita: The teacher who thinks food helps children concentrate in class

The parents of children studying in Government High School in Hesarghatta, Karnataka, work at Indian Institute of Horticultural Research [IIHR] as labourers or helpers. They leave home early in the morning and return by sundown. These children used to carry stale or spoilt food. Akshaya Patra started serving food in our school since 2007. The food is nutritious and fills their stomach. Their concentration levels have increased.

Ismail Malik: The teacher who experienced increase in attendance due to school lunch programme

“Many children who attend school in Antti Kumar Prathamik Shala, a primary school in Padra Taluk, Vadodara, Gujarat, are from lower income backgrounds. They need help from organisations like The Akshaya Patra Foundation. Their parents earn somewhere around Rs 2,000 to 3,000 by performing some labour-intensive jobs like carpentry, rag picking, masonry and the like. Even the parents prefer sending children to school, as it assures them of a healthy nutritious meal.

The mid-day meal has brought a tremendous decline in the student dropout rate. In the primary school, the increase in attendance is nearly as high as 60% to 70%. The numerous awards that now decorate the school office are a testimony to this.”

Please share your experiences with your teachers in the comments section below. We also look forward to learn about teachers around the world who have adopted various innovate teaching techniques to make the classes engaging.

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Our Enthusiastic Interns Tell Us Why We Are A Great Place to Work – Part 2

Akshaya Patra NGO Interns

The Akshaya Patra Foundation was recently certified as a Great Place to Work by Great Place to Work® Institute. Apart from employees, our interns play a major role in making the place what it is. They share their experience with us.

Harika Tota

Q. Why did you choose this Organization?
A. Firstly, I chose it because The Akshaya Patra Foundation is known for its Supply Chain Management” and I was looking to specialise in the same. Secondly, because of the organisation’s dedicated effort to eradicate hunger among children.

Q. How’s your typical day like?
A. It usually starts with a meeting with my mentor Mr Vinay Kumar C where we discuss my assignments for the day. He tracks my work every day. I got to improve my skills and knowledge at TAPF. My day doesn’t end without having lunch at TAPF which is delicious and hygienic.

Q. What are the challenges you faced so far? How did you overcome them?
A. One of the major challenges was to draft a research paper related to my work. This was my first time. My mentor helped me with it.

Q. Any memorable moment you had at TAPF? What did you like most about interning here?
A. I enjoyed attending Toastmasters club. While I did not get a table topic, I feel if I was given an opportunity, I would have understood where I stand.

Q. Why do you think Akshaya Patra is a ‘Great Place to Work’?
A. Akshaya Patra sets a good example of employer-employee relationship by providing opportunity to excel at work. The office has a lively environment. We get homely food. All this makes it a ‘Great Place to Work’.


Siva-Sai-Chaithanya-N

Q. Why did you choose this Organization?
A. I am pursuing MBA and I was interested in learning about Operations Management. TAPF is a place where activities like processing of raw materials, quality assurance and maintenance, supply chain process has a key role in providing nutritious school meal for over 1.6 million children across 12 states. This made me curious to learn more about the organisation.

Q. How’s your typical day like?
A. It starts with briefing from my guide/mentor Mr Vinay Kumar C on regular work. With the help of tracker, he monitors our activities and our research work on daily basis.

Q. What are the challenges you faced so far? How did you overcome them?
A. I found Toastmasters challenging. But then I realised that it will help me in my career. I am sure I will perform well next time.

Q. Any memorable moment you had at TAPF? What did you like most about interning here?
A. While I found Toastmasters difficult, I had fun attending it. It justifies the statement ‘Fun While You Learn’. I also like the work environment and the food here.

Q. Why do you think Akshaya Patra is a ‘Great Place to Work’?
A. Akshaya Patra is a ‘Great place to work’ because of its work environment, activities like Toastmasters club and the healthy relationship between employer and employee.

Part 1   Part 3  

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Contribute to send children back to school!

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It is the second quarter of the year and the hiring season is at its peak. Landing a high-paying job is on everyone’s agenda. Taking up lucrative opportunities to better our status quo, rule our minds as we start to prepare for a new chapter in our lives. The feeling is simply rewarding, isn’t it? Similarly, its back-to-school-time also! Quintessential summer days of having a blast and lazing around are finally over, as children gear up for their new academic year. After all, isn’t education the doorway to success and a million wonderful opportunities?

Education brings growth

Education is important for the mental and material development of an individual. Not only does it bring knowledge, it also opens up a whole new avenue of opportunities for the future. It inspires dreams, ambitions and new hopes for the future. It broadens one’s perspectives and makes them more receptive to diversity of thought and opinion. It also boosts one’s career prospects and brings financial gain.

Education received in school is important

The education that one receives in childhood is the foundation on which future achievements and laurels rest. And if the foundation itself is weak, how can a firm structure for a successful future be built? A good, uninterrupted schooling and education while young makes a world of difference, as it is the first step and a prerequisite for a good academic record.

Similarly, its back-to-school-time also! Quintessential summer days of having a blast and lazing around is finally over as children gear up for their new academic year. But often, poverty and paucity of resources prevent families from sending their children for another year at school. This is reality as reports establish the inextricable connection of poverty and increasing dropout rates. Adverse conditions of hunger and food insecurity thwart children’s excitement of returning for another year at school. School becomes a distant dream.

As the second quarter of the year rolls in and brings with it the new academic year, help us in facilitating children start it fruitfully! Your donation will help us in providing wholesome meals that will motivate children and their parents to send them to school. So, join in the cause of ‘food for education’ and help bring children back to school!

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7 secrets to a healthy diet!

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Doesn’t a hearty, wholesome meal leave you revitalised and lift your spirits? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this feeling every day? A well-balanced diet can help us achieve that, as our physical well-being is dependent on it, along with an active lifestyle. A nourishing diet that includes all the food groups is vital for good health. Akshaya Patra’s menu ensures that the meals we provide to school children as part of our Mid-Day Meal Programme, which includes dal, vegetables, herbs, spices and food grains, includes all the seven components that a meal must have to ensure a truly healthy diet. Which are these seven components:

Proteins

Proteins are rightfully called the ‘building blocks of the body’. They aid the development, maintenance and repair of body tissues, including skin, muscles and internal organs, along with hair. Dals – served regularly as part of our meals – are rich in proteins, along with beans and legumes.

Vitamins

Vitamins are organic compounds that our body needs in small quantities to regulate different bodily functions, including catalysis and metabolism. Some of them also act as antioxidants.

Leafy vegetables and fresh foods are a good source of vitamins, the deficiency of which in the body, can lead to diseases and complications.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates – sugars, fibres and starches – are an important source of glucose, which is converted to energy that fuels the body. They are also known to facilitate fat metabolism, along with affecting the functioning of the brain. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are good sources of carbohydrates.

Minerals

Minerals like iron, potassium, zinc, calcium and others are essential for healthy bones and teeth, well-functioning nerves and muscles and strong immunity. Beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables, whole grains are good sources of minerals, along with dairy products.

Fats

Fats in nutrition refer to fatty acids. A high intake of certain types of fats can be harmful to the body, but the ‘good’ fats are essential for a strong body composition, good skin and healthy eyes. They are instrumental in the health of cell membranes. Nuts, coconut, coconut oil, ghee are good sources of dietary fats.

Fibre

Dietary fibres are essential for a good digestive system. They help us feel full, thereby keeping us from overeating and help maintain body weight. They also help regularise bowel movements and keep the bowels healthy. Wholegrain cereals, beans, pulses, lentils legumes are good sources of fibres.

Water

Water sustains life on the planet, so it is no surprise then that up to 60% of the human body is made up of water. Drinking ample water throughout the day is necessary for survival, as water is a major component of all the body parts and helps in regulating its temperature, along with maintaining other body functions.

Healthy Diet Infograph

The seven components stated above are all a part of the nutritious meals served by Akshaya Patra to school children across India. They keep classroom hunger at bay and nourish their health and dreams for the future. Help us fulfil our vision that no child in India be deprived of hunger by making a wholesome meal available to them every day.

Do you have any tips for making meals healthier and more nutritious? Share them in the comments section below!

Read more about Akshaya Patra here.

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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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